Saturday, 5 January 2019

Juniper Berry Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries, Raisins, and Almonds

These are the best cookies I’ve ever baked, though they definitely have an adult tinge to them. My other half wants me to bake a big batch for Chinese New Year at her folks—something to talk about.
Preheat oven to 350°F/170°C (more or less, with some of these computerized ovens, not much choice).


A-Mix (dry)
First combine in mortar and pestle:
  • 2-3 tablespoon juniper berries
  • ¾ cup / 100g cane sugar
Begin with small amount of sugar to use as a grinding powder for the moist dry berries.

Then mix together with:
  • 1 cup / 125g cake flour
  • 1 cup / 125g quick oats
  • 1 cup / 125g slivered almond
  • 1 cup / 125g roughly chopped cranberries
  • ½ cup / 60g raisins
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1½-2½ teaspoon cinnamon

B-Mix (wet)
Whisk until opaque and almost fluffy:
  • 1 egg (medium-large to large) beaten
  • 1 cup / 125g olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Mix A-Mix and B-Mix with a strong big spoon (I used a steel ladle-like one to press down on the oat-and-flour mix to make sure the olive oil is absorbed).

Squish tight into balls (of equal size) for coherency and squish down on buttered cookie sheet or baking paper.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies, until slightly brown or to taste.
Cool on rack.

Monday, 19 November 2018

After over a decade of missing genuine stollen (German Christmas bread) I made it with the help of a Seiko HBK 151 breadmaker from Japan

It tastes great, and has the texture of stollen my oma made (store-bought stollen never gets this aspect right, in my experience).
Here is the recipe (slightly modified), translated to English from the Chinese version of the manual:


milk 100ml
egg 50g (1egg)
high-gluten flour 160g
low-gluten flour 160g
sugar 64g
salt 2g
butter 90g
ordinary yeast (dry instant yeast) 8.4g
cinnamon 1g
nutmeg 1g

Beat the egg and mix it with the milk, then, right before pouring the mix into the machine, mix it altogether with the dry ingredients and butter using a soft spatula that you can use later if any batter sticks beyond the reach of the flapper at the bottom of the machine mixer-container. The milk, egg, and butter should all be set out or heated to room temperature so that the yeast can get to work right away. 

Nine minutes after pressing "start," a buzzer will beep, and then add a mixture of nuts and dried fruit:

sliced almonds 50g
I used freshly slice-chopped unsalted almonds. All the nuts and fruits were from health food stores here in Taiwan.

raisins 180g
dried fruit mix 80g  
For the fruit, I followed the 180g of raisins, and divided the other dried fruits between dried figs (30g) and dried cranberries (50g). The figs came through, with the fresh nutmeg, glorious.

I didn't have the optional rum on hand, so had to skip it.

Modifications to recipe:
I used freshly grated (on a Japanese metal grater used usually for fresh ginger) cinnamon and nutmeg, and reversed the suggested proportions; there is more cinnamon than nutmeg. (I once rendered inedible a pumpkin pie by following the recipe to the letter.)

powdered sugar (to smother over it while it cools down on a rack)
 Additional note:
I followed the recipe, and it tastes great, but with the HBK 151 breadmaker you probably need to pull it out ten minutes or so earlier than the final buzzer (test with toothpick first). I pulled it out 8 minutes early, and note carefully in the picture it is a bit too browned on the edges, and the lower third of the cake is just slightly overdone (for my taste).

Monday, 24 September 2018

Essay in Mosaic special issue on scale: Nuclear Hegemony and Material Indices: The Satirical Verse Boom in Daily Newspapers after Fukushima

Following Alain Badiou’s modeling of change in relation to events, this study engages New Materialist issues of human-nonhuman relations and ontologies so as to situate satirical poetry appearing in Japanese daily newspapers and tweets after the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster as challenges to government and media obfuscation, thus broadening roles for creative writing in ecocriticism.
Available in Project Muse ( or email me (interpoetics at gmail dot com) and I would be happy to send a pdf.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Bitter Melon, Red Onion, Tomato Saute with Cloves (original recipe)

I was late to the health food store on Friday and didn't have much to choose from on the fresh veggies shelf. In fact, there was only a small package of near-organic tiny green bitter melons at the ridiculous price of about one USD. I looked online for recipes and found none that fit the ingredients available in the refrigerator. I did note the prominence of tomatoes and curries made with bitter melon and incorporated a dash of curry (my family is not as fond of spicy foods as I am) and the last sagging (perfect for sauteing) tomato. My gamble based on gut intuition (according to the recent science news that we have brains in our stomachs, and as the way to a family's heart is through the stomach) was to make cloves the featured sweet but punchy spice to pull off a delicious dish. To my own amazement, it worked!

Side dish size (serves 3-4 people).

How to Make It
   Wash and halve the bitter melons. Core them with a coffee spoon. Slice it to 1/4-cm or 16th-inch wedges around the cored melons.
   Peel, wash, and cut the red onion into just slightly larger wedges (which look like slivers from a distance).
   Wash and dice the tomato into one-centimeter or half-inch cubes (more or less).

  Heat up the flat frying pan or whatever shape of metal you prefer to medium hot (so the gas flame is tickling the pan but firing up its molecules so that it will burn the saute, which is not a barbecue).
  Add grape seed oil (enough to protect the veggies you are about to toss in) and olive oil (because it tastes great and add variety to the lubrication).
  The bitter melon is usually hard as Masonite, so toss it in first, followed immediately by all the spices (see below), then always (more or less, pause to let it brown a tad) keep scraping and stirring with a flat (and flat-edged) steel spatula. (This of course prevents organic materials from accumulating and burning.) After they look slightly in need of company, toss in the red onions, noting the beauty of the color combination and how long it must wait for the tomato--a very long time (at least ten minutes).
  It is at this stage that you may fear the saute in danger of becoming too dry and burning, yet the melon has yet to be fully cooked (I detest having to boil them ahead of time). Thus, here you need some form of liquid enhancement. Of course water is an option--no it is not; it would rob your dish of any hope of achieving panache and leave you miserable for the whole evening. Here you need cooking wine of some sort. I grabbed what I saw handy: bootleg clear liquor that the melons seemed to love. (Those of you struggling in 12-step programs, fear not, for the alcohol burns away leaving only a residue of the secret ingredient of all cooking: LOVE).
  Toss in the tomato. Stir for another 2-3 minutes.
  Add the brown sugar, stir in, and again after a minute, and it is done.
  Find a bowl for serving it (don't just leave it in the pan simmering into hellish sogginess).

Main ingredients:
Bitter green melons (4-6 tiny ones that fit palm of your closed hand)
Red onion (one small one will be enough)
Tomato (one medium-large one or two small ones, or perhaps a dozen halved cherry tomatoes)

Fresh whole cloves (ten; fresh means that when you open the bag or container the smell knocks you over)
Curry powder (a teaspoon or to taste, depending on the curry powder you prefer; I usually use the one sold in most Vietnamese restaurants)
Fresh ground green cardamon (one teaspoon, peel them and grind the seeds in the pod, or pulverize them in a pestle/mortar)
Salt (one teaspoon; I can't recommend sea salt anymore since it is found to have plastic crystallized in it--even in Antarctica!)

Bootleg plain cooking liquor (optional; ask your Taiwanese friends)
Brown sugar (one and a half tablespoons or to taste; try to use organic or least processed)
Grape seed oil 
Olive oil


Thursday, 31 May 2018

Postcolonial positioning and Japanese imperial affect in interwar Dada prose poems

This article supplements my book Japanese Poetry and Its Publics (politics), which mostly treats tanka, and some senryu. This piece focuses on Kitagawa Fuyuhiko's experimental prose poems. 

The book and this piece are all thanks to the encouragement of Phillip Darby, editor of the Postcolonial Politics book series and the journal Postcolonial Studies.

eprints (50 available) are here:


Saturday, 21 April 2018

Old-Fashioned Raisin Bars with Ingredients Available in Taiwan (Best Ever)

This afternoon my eldest daughter (kindergarten age) and I baked these bar cookies (standard 10X15 inch teflon baking pan--hard to tell from photo).
We followed the recipe, choosing to use olive oil, Taiwanese brown sugar, and mixed the spices using a ceramic mortar and pestle: half a dozen fresh cloves, fresh nutmeg shaved off with a paring knife (less than a teaspoon, as it was pungent and I was afraid it would be too much), and fresh powdered cinnamon. The pan was greased with butter, and we didn't have powdered sugar, so the photo lacks flair, but I highly recommend it. Thanks to my trusty Better Homes and Garden Betty Crocker knockoff dragged around for decades.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

German Sweet Potatoes Perfect with Basic Ingredients Available in Taiwan

I'm back to cooking (just got an oven) and really enjoying it. The first run included vegetarian mushrooms and fungi pasta, pork pasta, bibimbob (비빔밥),  Japanese udon and then hot-pot (miso flavor), with side dishes including cucumber and tomato salad (thanks to my Aunt Barbara's recipe), and these sweet potatoes. They took about 40 minutes to boil. Rinse in cold water (they retain enough heat for the butter to melt still). Slice into 1/2-inch or so slabs or slightly thicker tops and bottoms of the taters.
Oh, I skipped the bread crumbs, and thought they were great still. As my wife is watching her cholesterol, I didn't use more than a tablespoon or so for the whole batch of 6 smallish sweet potatoes (地瓜), and spread a thin layer of olive oil over the glass. The brown sugar was local and organic. The salt was coarse sea salt (turned out a bit too salty on some). Freshly ground pepper. Overall, it is a great variation on a local staple--and transports one to Europe (so I am told). 

Now I just have to find cloves and nutmeg, so I can try more dishes in this book (once my mom's):
Source of recipe.

Monday, 27 November 2017


Immeasurable thanks to Huei-chu Chu 朱惠足 and Hannes Bergthaller for including my work on Badiou and intertextuality in Chinese, translated by Huei-chu Chu:

第四章 生態論述中的巴迪烏「改變」模式:福島核災川柳中的行動者與關係性/包德樂

(Badiouian Models of Change in Ecological Discourse: Actants and Relationality in Senryū on the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster)


作者:朱惠足、Bergthaller, Hannes、Phillips, Dana


Story in print: "The San Francisco Fun House" in the Incarceration anthology


Includes my speculative utopian satire
"The San Francisco Fun House" 

Available here:

Book now out: Japanese Poetry and Its Publics: From Colonial Taiwan to Fukushima

Anyone interested in reviewing the book can obtain a copy through this form on the Routledge website:

Also available here:

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

"Affective Frames and Intra-relational Finites in Jorie Graham’s Sea Change" now online


This article brings into conversation a Badiouian ethics and Karen Barad’s post-phenomenological relationality of “intra-actions” among the human and nonhuman so as to situate the environmentally and politically engaged poetry included in Jorie Graham’s Sea Change. Criticism has avoided exploring the interplay between stylistic choices and political dimensions in her poetry, which includes engagements with pressing environmental issues today (global warming, rising seas, and chaotic weather), preemptive wars, and questions of plausible poetic agency itself. Foregrounding a material dimension while still maintaining a sense of responsibility, this essay highlights Alain Badiou’s use of poetic configurations as “subjects” engaging in ethical world-recognitions that help situate an important underlying posthuman ethos evident in Graham’s poetry. Barad, in a discourse with roots in quantum physics, argues that we must rethink representation from an entirely different phenomenology of intra-actions, beginning with relations, not objects or Cartesian selves. Thus both Badiou and Barad, in radically different but complementary ways, situate ontological finites—poems and sites of intra-action—as means of overcoming Derridean différance, which remains one formal cornerstone of postmodern displacement evident in American mass media’s post-truth equalization of all positions without situating possibilities of coherent analysis or engagement. In conversation with the work of Judith Butler as well as Badiou and Barad, this essay intends to make a small contribution to feminist posthumanism and politics, and expand our sense of ethical and affective engagement in New Materialist criticism.
Appears in Neohelicon (2017). DOI :10.1007/s11059-017-0400-2

Access article (free) here:

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Score for Martyrdom of St. Lawrence (keyboard composition in progress)

Score for Martyrdom of St. Lawrence (keyboard composition in progress). The rest is in a notebook waiting for summer vacation.

Audio renditions on Soundcloud here.