Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Just kidding about that! The tempeh does NOT talk to me. But it does look rather smug, and I have no clue what to do with it. For some reason the past month has been unkind to me in the non-meat-eating sense.
Perhaps it's the cold weather, and my genetic obligation to put on a layer of fat during the winter, but I sure could go for a steak. A happy, grass-fed, lived-a-good-life steak, but a steak all the same. But, I fear it's a slippery slope from there to wings at the corner bar, so for now, it's tempeh time. Does anyone have any ideas?
These lovely Brussels sprouts came from the farmer's market. They didn't talk back to me, and so were quickly snapped up out of the fridge and lovingly prepared (what do you think about that, tempeh?).
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lemon Dijon Dressing
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
1-2 TB Dijon mustard
1 TB olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb Brussels sprouts, halved
Combine first four ingredients with a fork in a small bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper.
Place sprouts on a baking sheet lined with foil that you have sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle sprouts with salt and pepper, and lightly spray with cooking spray. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, or until bottoms are browning. Flip sprouts, and roast for another 10 minutes or until browned.
Allow sprouts to cool slightly, then toss in dressing. Serves 4 as a side dish.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Yes. I complain about the cold all the time, so I lack credibility. I know this. But yesterday was different. Yesterday I was literally moved to tears when I saw a man at an intersection.
I was waiting to turn right, and he was standing in the median by the left lane. He was dressed for the weather. He had on thick canvas coveralls, a hooded sweatshirt, workboots and ski gloves. He looked to be about 65. There was a duffel bag on the ground near him, and he held a big, creased cardboard sign: Hard Worker.
[Heavy Sigh.] So many people are struggling this year to survive, just as the weather is getting dangerously cold. At dinner last night, I hoped that the hard worker had somewhere warm to go home to.
Spicy Chickpeas and Winter Vegetables
lemon juice or red wine vinegar (optional)
Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions, leeks garlic, and cloves and saute for 4-5 minutes. Add broth and tomatoes, scraping bottom of pan to remove any browned bits.
Add the remainder of the ingredients (excluding salt, pepper and lemon/vinegar), and bring to a simmer. Cook with lid on for about 30 minutes, or until cauliflower and carrots are soft. Season with salt and pepper. Remove chilies prior to serving. Add a splash or lemon juice or red wine vinegar to each bowl prior to serving if desired. Serve with couscous or rice. Serves 6-8.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Do you know when you reach that point where you just can not eat any more squash? That's the time in my household where we forge boldly ahead, and yep, keep eating it. We like to tempt fate.
This pasta turned out delicious-creamy and nutmeg-scented. Very comforting. Good with finely grated wisps of cheese on top. Gruyere perhaps?
In other news, we ate last night at Founding Farmer's restaurant. Have you heard of this place? It just opened two months ago and sources all of its ingredients from local farmers. Rad idea, and excellent execution.
There are some aspects of the restaurant that are a little too cutesy. (I like the shape of the ice cubes, but could have done without hearing how they recall ice-blocks being chipped out of Lake Huron...) But overall, a great dinner nestled in a booth, surrounded by vegetables canned in large, clear jars.
Pasta with Creamy Egg and Squash Sauce
1/2 lb pasta
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1 TB water
1 lb butternut or delicata squash, roasted, peeled and cut into roughly 1 inch chunks(I used a combination of squash)
1/2 cup grated cheese (I like either Gruyere or Parmigianno- Reggiano)
salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to directions in salted water.
Combine next 5 ingredients (through water) in a bowl using a fork. Set aside.
In another bowl, gently mash 1/2 of the roasted squash using the back of a wooden spoon.
When pasta is done cooking, use tongs to transfer it to a large bowl. Reserve 1 c cooking water. Slowly pour egg mixture over pasta, using tongs to thoroughly combine mixture and pasta.
Add mashed squash to pasta, and combine. Use pasta water to achieve desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top each portion with chunks of squash. Serve with grated cheese. Serves 4.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Through the haze of sleep, I was hoping I’d accidentally picked up The Onion. But upon closer inspection, no, still the Washington Post. And the Washington Post was telling me about how McDonald’s is enlisting mothers to chat up how healthy and nutritious their food is. Whhaaaa?
McDonald’s is an easy target for high and mighty people like me, isn’t it? But they deserve it.
This idea of moms as “fast food emissaries” is offensive not only because it feels like McDonald’s thumbing its corporate nose at peoples’ (correct) instinct that, hey, this food is NOT healthy, but also because of the chosen information vehicle. Moms? Really? Have you no shame?
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Sometimes, if the fog is just right, and the rain has just brought fall leaves out of the trees....the world smells like maple syrup. My favorite.
1 tsp olive oil
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp TB cumin
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients, and mix using hands. Spread cauliflower on baking sheet, and roast for about 15 minutes. Using tongs, flip cauliflower on sheet, and roast for another 20-25 minutes, or until brown. Serves 4, as a side dish.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
As I recently emailed a friend, my brain does this funny thing annually where it totally hits delete on the misery that is late fall / all of winter as soon as warm weather rolls around.
Consequently, here we are at late fall, and suddenly, cruelly suddenly, I am caught off guard by how very dreary it all is. It truly must be some sort of evolutionary amnesia that I'm programmed with that serves to prevent me from cliff-jumping around late October.
The whole getting dark at 2:15 in the afternoon thing feels like being ripped out of bed on a freezing cold morning and then being told that someone just ate the last pancake. Every day.
Oh, I am a dramatic one, aren't I?
Here's some curry to pour into the wound.
1 TB vegetable oil
1 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp coriander seed
1 white onion, chopped
1 TB fresh ginger, chopped finely
1/2 TB turmeric
1/2 TB garam masala
1/2 TB curry powder (your blend of choice)
1/2 c vegetable stock
2-3 eggplants, cut into roughly 1 1/2 inch chunks
1 red pepper, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 roasted sweet potatoes, cut into roughly 1 inch chunks
1 block extra firm tofu, pressed, thoroughly drained, and prepared as described here
Heat oil in large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add mustard and coriander seeds, and stir to coat in oil. Put lid on dutch oven and cook seeds until they begin to pop, about two minutes.
Remove lid, and add onion, ginger, turmeric, garam masala and curry powder to pot. Cook over medium heat until onions soften, about five minutes. Add vegetable stock, and stir to loosen any browned bits from bottom of pan.
Turn heat to medium-low and add eggplant and pepper. Stir to combine all ingredients. Cook with lid on for about thirty minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove lid and cook until sauce has reduced to desired degree, about ten minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, put approximately 1/2 c sweet potato and 1/2 c tofu in each bowl. Top with curry mixture. Serves 4-6.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Cook pasta according to directions in salted water. Drain, reserving 1/2 c cooking liquid, and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute garlic until softened. Remove 1/2 of the garlic from skillet for use in tofu sauce. Set aside.
Add mushrooms to remaining garlic in skillet, and cook over medium heat. While mushrooms are cooking, remove 1/2 c mushroom liquid for use in tofu sauce. Set aside.
Cook mushrooms until softened and all liquid has been released, about ten minutes. Set aside.
In a food processor, combine tofu, cream cheese, reserved mushroom juice and reserved garlic until creamy. Add some pasta water if needed to adjust consistency.
Combine pasta, tofu sauce and mushrooms prior to serving. Serves 4.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
2 TB olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
2 carrots, thinly sliced into discs
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced into discs
8 c low sodium vegetable stock
1.5 c dried lentils
1.5 TB cumin
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp Hungarian paprika
salt and pepper to taste
4 c fresh spinach
juice from ½ lemon
Bring vegetable stock to a boil in a large stock pot. Add lentils, and turn heat down to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onions, and sautee until softened. Add carrots and celery to skillet, and stir to coat with oil. Add onion mixture to stockpot, and season soup with cumin, rosemary, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer soup for an additional 10-25 minutes, until lentils are soft on inside. (If using spinach, add during last five minutes of cooking.)
Immediately prior to serving, add lemon juice. Serve soup with grated cheese on side. Serves 6-8.
Friday, October 24, 2008
While I do feel a little bit like I drank the Cali Kool-Aid in terms of how fresh and fabulous all the food was, I’m still putting my eggs in the east coast basket for now. For now.
After stumbling off the plane in LA at 10am Saturday, we drove to Santa Monica and had lunch at Urth, a lovely organic café with a fun patio and great people watching. Then it was off to REI for some last minute supplies for our backpacking trip. Dinner was at Brasserie Anisette. I highly recommend it if you are in Santa Monica… great vibe and perfect for a Saturday night.
We got up the next morning and drove to the Matilija wilderness area in Los Padres National Forest for a few days of back to nature. As anyone who hikes knows, you could barbeque a sock after a long day on the trail and it would probably rock your world. We kept it simple, and had strange noodle concoctions in the evenings, including buckwheat noodles one night that basically turned into glue. Alarming! Yet tasty!
We reemerged from the woods and headed to Santa Barbara. We spent the afternoon ogling produce at the Farmer's Market- which puts any others I've seen to shame.
We stopped for lunch at a little café that overlooked the Pacific, and were told that fires closed the road up ahead on highway one. Veggie sandwich eaten, I climbed back into the car for what would be a full day in the car. But, a beautiful one nonetheless. We were rewarded with dinner at Passionfish, a restaurant in Pacific Grove that features all sustainable seafood. It totally lived up to the rave reviews, and was an easy walk from our lovely inn.
The next day we ventured to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for some starfish touching and tuna feeding and had lovely seafood salads for lunch after.
We waddled out of San Francisco Friday to drive up to Calistoga for a wedding. We stopped along the way in Napa to attempt a tandem roadbike (Never again! We didn’t make it out of the parking lot). We traded it in for normal roadbikes and had a laughably short ride to the closest vineyard we could find from Healdsburg. Quivira turned out to be a very cool biodynamic vineyard which provided a perfect place to picnic. We wobbled back into town, and completed the weekend in Calistoga, with great brunches and even better dinners.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
A sort of hilarious side effect of all of this track-watching has been a definite change in my tempo when I’ve been running this past week. I mean, what, do I think I’m going to qualify for 2012? Only if there’s suddenly a special division for 34 year olds who eat a lot of Yogato and drink a lot of Pinot Grigio. Otherwise, I am not likely to make it. But, in the meantime, I am zipping through Rock Creek. Look out!
Of course, I have to eat a lot to compensate for all that speed. Yes, my mile pace is now a blistering 10 minutes, as opposed to the previously languid 10:15; bring on the calories.
To fuel my new blazing speed, I made roasted tilapia with a velvety Italian salsa verde. This sauce is perfect for summer: minimal ingredients, yet very flavorful. It's a cold sauce that's ready in seconds.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
My husband assured me that what I really needed to get rid of that feeling was a fifty mile bike ride, naturally. We set out obnoxiously later than planned (I wouldn’t trade a night with out-of-town friends for an early start, don’t get me wrong) and it took about 30 miles to feel like I wasn’t going to fall off of the bike. But what a gorgeous ride. We made it almost to Sugarloaf , but turned around just short of it.
In hindsight, it’s sort of hilarious how self-assured I was feeling at mile 45. Because at mile 46 I was ready to vote Republican if it would have made the ride end any sooner (OK, OK, it wasn’t that bad...).
We slurped ourselves home and tried to sort out dinner. We had had plans to go out, to enjoy the oddly cool evening weather, but we were not ready for prime time. I think I was drooling on myself, and husband was not much better.
Having raided my parent’s garden earlier in the day, I had handfuls of cherry tomatoes at my disposal. This sauce was easy, and tasted even better the next day.
Pasta with Eggplant and Cherry Tomato Sauce
½ lb pasta
1 TB olive oil
½ onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 eggplants, chopped into roughly 1 inch pieces
2-3 c cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1-2 c water
¼ c Kalamata olives, chopped
2 TB tomato paste
1 TB balsamic vinegar
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 handful basil
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Cook pasta according to directions, in salted water. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, add olive oil to a skillet that has been heated over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft, about four minutes.
Add eggplant and about 1 c water to skillet. Combine well. Cook covered, over medium heat, until eggplant is softened. Stir periodically to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom. Add more water as needed.
Uncover, and add tomatoes to mixture and cook until tomatoes are softened, about 3 minutes. Add olives, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar and red pepper flakes and stir to combine.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Prior to serving, add basil. Heat from sauce will wilt basil. Serve with cheese on the side. Serves 4.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
In any event, Saturday's menu was fish tacos with a cabbage slaw. I served the tacos with a spinach salad and corn on the cob. Simple, seasonal, and very satisfying.