Wednesday, May 16, 2007

from 4/27/2007

When I was a kid, I just didn't get the whole notion behind "TGIF". I liked weekends, but I liked week, too. Why did grown-ups get so excited about Fridays? Well, now I know. I am so excited that it's Friday! I like my job and all, but still. Weekends are where it's at. If I could magically double the time in each day maybe I wouldn't care so much, but since I've been concentrating on cooking, and not inventing the time-doubling machine, TGIF it is.

I'm especially excited about the ramp festival/cook-off/roadtrip tomorrow! My West Virginia pride is a-swellin', and I'm looking forward to sharing the lovely, potent, odoriferous experience of ramps with my peeps. That is the taste of spring, and the taste of my West Virginia childhood.

I've mentioned that I want to make some treats for the car trip down, and am planning on making Heidi's pocket tarts from Cook 1.0. She had a few suggestions of fillings, but advised that pretty much any filling would be good in them. I've settled on three filling flavors--curried potato-pea, spinach-mushroom-goat cheese and cherry-cinnamon. Yum! I made the two savory fillings last night so they'd have a day to fully develop their flavors. I'm making the sweet filling and baking the tarts tonight. I want to underbake them just a tiny bit so I can pop them into the oven for a few minutes on Saturday morning so they'll be all warm and toasty and mouth-wateringly fragrant. I actually haven't worked with puff pastry before, and I'm a little nervous, but hopefully they'll turn out to be golden, flaky and delicious. As it should be.

curried potato-pea filling
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This is great on its own, too! I actually planned to bring a little scoop of each of these fillings for lunch with some brown rice, and left it sitting on my kitchen counter. Bummer! But, here's the recipe:

Potato-Pea Curry
(filling for pocket tarts)

2 1/2 c. golden new potatoes, 1/4" dice
1 c. baby peas (I used frozen, 'cause even though I have some fresh peas, I love to eat them in the pods, and didn't want to sacrifice them!)
1 1/2 T. olive oil
1/2 T. butter (it'd be great to use ghee in place of the oil/butter)
2 large (or 3 small) cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 c. onion, small dice
1 1/2 T. curry mix (I made a mix using curry powder, cayenne, chili powder, cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice, tumeric, crushed cumin seed, crushed coriander seed)

Heat the oil and butter in a medium-hot skillet, and add the garlic and onion. Saute for about 2 minutes until they're soft and translucent. Add in the curry mix, and saute another minute until it's really fragrant. Add in the potatoes, and cook for about 10 minutes, until they start to soften (but are still al dente). Add in the peas, and saute for another couple of minutes. Add sea salt to taste (I used about 1 t.).

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Spinach-Mushroom-Goat Cheese
(filling for pocket tarts)

1 1/2 T. olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. onion, small dice
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. sea salt
3/4 lb. crimini mushrooms, 1/4" dice, stems removed (I kept the stems, and I'll use them in soup/stock)
1 lb. spinach, washed, drained and roughly chopped
goat cheese, crumbled

Heat the oil in a medium-hot skillet, and add the shallot, garlic and onion. Saute for about two minutes until soft and translucent. Add the cinnamon and salt. Add the mushrooms, and cook for about five minutes until soft and smelling like a little slice of heaven. Add the spinach, and stir while it cooks down and incorporates.

I didn't add the goat cheese yet. I'm just going to crumble some on the top of each dollop of filling in the tart.

[Why, oh why, didn't I remember my lunch?! I want some right now!]

I'm not, of course, starving right now despite my strong desire to eat up that filling. I had a strawberry-blueberry-maca smoothie this morning (with 1 c. soymilk, 1/3 frozen banana, 1 t. raw agave nectar). It was gorgeous!

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And, I had an especially good morning because I weighed in, and--finally--the scale moved again! Three more pounds shed. That makes 39 so far. Woot! And, it's my two-week-a-versary of being a non-smoker. Again, woot!

I was taking out the trash this morning, and noticing how much less trash I generate now. I used to have about 2 very full bags of garbage each week, but since I've mostly gotten rid of the pizza boxes, packaging from processed foods, cigarette packs, cigarette butts, etc. I've reduced my trash to about a half of a bag per week! And, when I move into my new place and have a garden, I can start composting, and that'll eliminate about half of that! This healthquest is not just good for me; it's just good, period!

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