Meme Mut8nt-R4

(Andrea pulls on her lab coat and disinfects the benchtop.)

Steve D at One Dad’s Opinion meme-tagged me. I don’t know what the official name for this is, so I’ll refer to it as the Random-8 meme. Random-8 has the following genes:

1. Let others know who tagged you.
2. Players start with 8 random facts about themselves.
3. Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 random facts.
4. Players should tag 8 other people and notify them they have been tagged.

While entertaining some insomnia during the wee hours of the morning, I realised that this list was going to be difficult, having already done the Five Weird Things meme. But then I had an idea — a wild idea — a wild, wee-hours idea that unlike most such, still sounded cool the next day.

Now, Do’C at Autism Street halted meme transmission with a mutation (he must have really vigorous interferons), which I can certainly understand, as these meme games can be a pox on smaller blogging communities. Interestingly, NotMercury also presented with the same meme mutation. So although I shall tag some people, I will also employ a little transduction to add a new gene onto our little social microbe (no, not GFP for Green Fluorescent Protein — although bioluminescence is cool, I’ve something more useful in mind).

Depending upon the host’s resistance-factor homozygosity or heterozygosity, they may choose to pass along the original Random-8 meme, OR they may transmit my transformed mutant -R4 form. (Bwa-ha-ha!) Unlike the wild type, the Mut8nt-R4 codes for the transcription of a heap of amino acids, because R is for Recipe!

New genome for Mut8nt-R4:

1. Let others know who tagged you.
2. Players start with 4 recipes they especially like (ethnic or regional recipes and quick meals are especially nice).
3. Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 4 recipes.
4. Players should tag 4 other people and notify them they have been tagged.


This first recipe is something I invented for nights when I need something that was (1) really quick to cook, (2) used mostly stuff from the pantry and (3) didn’t require that I’d remembered to defrost anything ahead of time. The only hitch is that you have to remember to buy a couple things and keep them in the pantry for the next time you have one of Those Days.

4 tablespoons olive oil (50 mL)
1 pound chicken breast filets — still-frozen is fine (1/2 kg)
2 lemons, washed and sliced thinly & seeded (no need to peel)
1 large jar or 2 small jars of marinated artichoke hearts, sliced (keep brine)
oregano or marjoram

Spread olive oil to cover the bottom of a pan and lay the chicken strips in a single layer. Scatter the lemons and artichoke hearts on top, sprinkle generously with capers and oregano, and pour on the brine. Put the lid on the pan, and cook over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with rice or egg noodles. (At our house, the rice cooker lives on the counter.)


This one is for all of my vegetarian friends. It’s not as quick, but is tasty any time of year, and produces fabulous “lunch-overs”.

2 tablespoons oil (30 mL)
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
equal amount of minced fresh gingerroot
1 cup diced seeded tomatoes (250 mL)
1 can lowfat coconut milk (about 200 mL)
1/2 teaspoon salt (2 grams)
2 teaspoons curry powder * (10 grams)
1 teaspoon ground cumin (5 grams)
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (2 grams)
3” cinnamon stick (8 cm)
1 large sweetpotato, peeled and diced (drained if canned)
1 can black-eyed peas, drained
1 small eggplant, cubed
1 sweet ripe pepper, diced
2 handfuls fresh baby spinach leaves
pineapple chunks, optional
cooked brown rice

Sauté onion for 5 minutes until tender, then add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes. Add the curry powder, cumin, cardamom and cinnamon stick, cook stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Stir in tomato, coconut milk and salt and stir to combine. Add sweetpotato, peas, eggplant and sweet pepper, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Add spinach leaves the last two minutes of cooking. Remove cinnamon stick before serving with brown rice.


2 teaspoons ground cardamom (10 grams)
1 teaspoon ground cayenne chile (5 grams)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (15 grams)
2 teaspoons ground cloves (10 grams)
1 teaspoon ground cumin (5 grams)
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (5 grams)
1 tablespoon ground turmeric (15 grams)


Gotta have some chocolate in here! Instead of vanilla cookies with chocolate bits, these are my special chocolate cookies with vanilla bits — the cookies from another dimension! If you don’t have vanilla chips, then substitute pea-size chunks of white chocolate.

3/4 cup brown sugar (150 grams)
1/2 cup sugar (115 grams)
1 cup butter (2 sticks) softened (225 grams)
1 teaspoon almond extract (5 mLs)
1 egg
2 cups flour (200 grams)
1/4 cup baking cocoa (30 grams)
1 teaspoon baking soda / sodium bicarbonate (5 grams)
1/2 teaspoon salt (2 grams)
1 cup vanilla chips (180 grams)
1/2 cup salty Spanish peanuts (60 grams)

Preheat oven to 375°F / 190°C. Cream together the butter and sugars. Mix together the dry ingredients, and add this, along with the remaining ingredients to the creamed mixture. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet, bake for about 10 minutes. Let cool for a minute before removing to wire cooling rack.


Where else would you find such an appetizing recipe for insects? We served these at a department Open House, and yes, ordinary people ate them. Insects are a good source of low-fat protein.

2 tablespoons oil (30 mL)
About 3 dozen large crickets (available at pet shops)
Two large handfuls of small snack-size pretzels
One large handful of salted Spanish peanuts
One large handful of seedless raisins (sultanas)
1/2 teaspoon salt (2 grams)
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne chile (2 grams)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric (1 gram)

Set the package of crickets in freezer for half an hour to kill them. Mix the seasonings together. Heat oil in wok or large pan and sauté the crickets, sprinkling evenly with seasonings. Add the other ingredients and toss for a couple of minutes to throughly mix before removing to a serving bowl. (Have some toothpicks on hand in case someone gets a tarsus stuck between their teeth.)

I’m tagging Wheelchair Dancer, Bug Girl, Goldfish, and MarkCC of Good Math, Bad Math. If Do’C wants to post some of those recipes he alluded to, he’s also welcome to do so — you know how viruses will lie dormant and then flare up again…



  1. qw88nb88 said,

    29 February 2008 at 22:14

    Melody, you’re quite right. I really need to buy a metric kitchen scale.

    In American recipes, most measuring is done by volume, not by weight. I was thinking of volume and forgetting about the differences in density among seasonings.

    Thanks for the correction.


  2. 29 February 2008 at 14:12

    A teaspoon holds 5 milliliters, which in liquid generally weighs 5 grams. However, when weighing spices, this does not work. I am a food writer and recipe translator based in Scandinavia. I am now working on a cookbook and needed to know the volumetric measurement for 15g cardamom. I googled it and found your website. FYI 15g of cardamom equals just about 2 1/2 tablespoons, quite a difference from your 10g = 2 tsp. It’s logical – powdered spices are much lighter than dense ingredients like butter and water. The rule of thumb (or whatever it is) does not work for them. Even salt is heavier – 1 tsp weighs 6.7 g.

  3. Bug Girl said,

    20 October 2007 at 23:10

    Ok, any day now I’m going to catch up on this meme. I’m working through them all…..

  4. Sally said,

    21 July 2007 at 12:19

    I have added a tired person’s receipt for Beef Ragu onto the end of my 8RT meme tagged by Goldfish.

  5. The Goldfish said,

    17 July 2007 at 23:14

    I really love the idea of a mutating Meme and this is particularly good one, thank you. I have been tagged with the original, so I’ll do that first, then I’ll get onto this.

  6. abfh said,

    17 July 2007 at 21:00

    Mutant memes… very cool!

    Cricket crunch… I’ll pass on that one.

    On the wandering around thing, I always bring a grocery list, but unfortunately I haven’t yet figured out a good defense against the lure of random impulsive substitutions.

  7. Suzanne said,

    17 July 2007 at 16:21

    Yet another mutatation…. Random 8, the video.

  8. qw88nb88 said,

    17 July 2007 at 15:02

    w00t! I LOVE it when people comment!

    Do’C, thank you SO MUCH for that Tzatziki recipe! J’adore the stuff and I just picked some cucumbers yesterday, so I will try to remember to pick up a large carton of yogurt. The problem is that it’s hard to find any good quality stuff around here; I may have to stop by one of the organic markets to get some that’s purely cultured milk, as most commercial brands seem full of whey and stabilisers. Maybe I’ll buy a yogurt incubator!

    Kitchen tip: if you have an unemployed melon-baller cluttering up the utensil drawer, you can use it to scoop out the seed cores on cucumbers. We also use ours on apples: slice apple in half, then give the melon-baller a quick rotation to scoop out the seed core of the apple (you can also do the blossom end if it’s annoyingly fluffy).

    Of course, that means not going into the store for the yogurt and then wandering around like Bev … omigod you crack me up, girl! Watch me come home with a yogurt incubator, something random like a sourdough Brötchen for the boy, but NO millk.

    Sally, what’s the “beef ragu”? I don’t eat beef but the guys do, and I bet they would like it.

  9. Suzanne said,

    17 July 2007 at 14:26

    Bioluminescence is cool. so are you. Nicely done.
    D’oC…. YUM. Bev… sigh.

  10. Sally said,

    17 July 2007 at 12:22

    Its the crickets that are cracking me up ! Tears of laughter. Now its summer (although very wet) they have appeared again in the long uncut grasses of my garden, chirruping away, which is delightful to me because until I moved down south to Dorset, I thought crickets only lived ‘abroad’. Crickets as food ?! I have beef ragu on the stove simmering away ploppery as we speak. Sorry to laugh, but you know, we are in a different countries and just occasionally I remember this; and crickets are friendly critters that cheer me up when I am sat in the garden. This blog and comments have made my day. I will pass on the the Asperger’s recipe to an appreciative A friend of mine.

  11. Bev said,

    17 July 2007 at 10:37


    1. Go to grocery store.
    2. Anagram the word grocery, along with store name.
    3. Read recipe on back of Nestle’s package.
    4. Photograph floor tiles in grocery store.
    5. Add all ingredients to shopping cart.
    6. Pick up ingredients for dinner.
    7. Wait a minute, what did I decide to have for dinner?
    8. Chicken, maybe?
    9. Or pasta?
    10. Chicken or pasta, chicken or pasta, chicken or pasta…
    11. Pick up coffee
    12. What time is it?
    13. Because I’m feeling really tired
    14. Find cookie aisle
    15. Add Chips Ahoy to cart.
    16. Take Chips Ahoy out of cart.
    17. Abandon cart and take Chips Ahoy to register.
    18. It’s a long line…
    19. Abandon Chips Ahoy near registers.
    20. Leave the store, hoping no one’s noticed abandoned shopping cart yet.
    21. Stop at convenience store.
    22. Do I need gas?
    23. Yes, but I’ll get it tomorrow.
    24. Buy individual serving package of Chips Ahoy.
    25. Eat on the way home.

  12. Do'C said,

    17 July 2007 at 5:28

    (no, not GFP for Green Fluorescent Protein — although bioluminescence is cool, I’ve something more useful in mind).

    Yeah, bioluminescence is way cool. But I’m really not sure about the critter crunch recipie.

    If Do’C wants to post some of those recipes he alluded to, he’s also welcome to do so — you know how viruses will lie dormant and then flare up again…

    Can’t resist…I’m going to share one of my simplest abosolute favorites. It’s one I picked up from several Taverna kitchens in mainland Greece.

    Killer Authentic Tzatziki

    What you need:

    A tall mixing bowl or pitcher that will fit in the fridge
    Regular mixing bowls
    Cheesecloth (in the baking section)
    A hefty rubber band
    A vegetable peeler
    A cheese grater
    Paper towels or a small clean towel

    48 ounces of plain yogurt
    3 cucumbers

    Fresh garlic


    Day one (15 minutes)
    Drape a couple of layers of cheesecloth over the bowl/pitcher so it makes a concaved pouch in the top half of the bowl/pitcher. Secure with the hefty rubber band. Make sure there is enough room to hold the 48 ounces of yogurt. Dump in the yogurt. Cover with foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 24 hours.

    Peel the cucumbers. Slice the cucumbers in half lengthwise. Gently scrape the seeds out of the middle (like you’re hollowing a canoe), and discard them. Shred the cucumbers and place into the regular mixing bowl on top of several paper towels (or the small clean dish towel. This provides maximum cool cucumber flavor, but might be seen a “little less than authentic” by some rather than simply cutting it up. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

    Day two (15 minutes)
    Lift the cheesecloth and strained yogurt out of the pitcher and let it roll off into a bowl. You may be surprised at the amount of water that has strained out (sometimes as much as half of the 48 ounces or more). Discard the water. Move the shredded cucumber to a fresh set of paper towels or small clean towel, wrap an gently squeeze to remove additional moisture. Add the cucumber to the strained yogurt. Mix in a little salt (to taste) and as much fresh minced or pressed garlic as you can stand. Mix thoroughly.

    That’s it!

    Now use that to top your favorite meat, stir fried in a little olive oil with basil and lemon juice. If you’re a sandwich lover, serve it all wrapped up with plenty of fresh chopped onions in a Greek Pita (or the flatbread of your choice).

    Want more veggies? Add an authentic village salad:

    Sliced cucumber, sliced green bell pepper, tomato, and a block of Feta Cheese (a dash of black pepper and drizzled in olive oil for dressing).

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