Thursday, May 31, 2007

please see my office hours

Yesterday evening I pretended that I was holding office hours at the Quiet Storm. It all started because yesterday was the first day that my CSA subscription started, so I was going to pick it up, and meet my friend Jen at the QS to divide up the booty and get her half of our payment (we're sharing a "small share" from Kretschmann's). I was to meet her there around 6:30 p.m., so I didn't want to go home, then have to turn around and come right back to Garfield, so I decided I'd just go after I picked up the veggies and read. But, then I made a plan to meet up with my new pal Jenn for coffee in the meantime (to take our palship from virtual to real world). She's a peach! So, we hung out for a bit, Jen came by to get her veggies and hung out for a minute, then Mags and her dad, Ani and Carol came to meet up for dinner. I wish my office was the Quiet Storm every day.

And, speaking of the QS, I had an amazing dinner there. I ordered the special: "crabcake" sandwich with macaroni salad and choice of green salad or soup. I chose the chilled green pea and mint soup. First of all, the "crabcakes"? Freakin' fab! Man, oh man! Better than many "real" crabcakes I've tried over the years. And, crab is one of those things that I really miss (along with toro and bacon). I emailed the owner/chef to see if I could get her recipe or a tip and begged her to add it to their regular menu. So tasty! And, the chilled green pea and mint soup was fresh and delicious, too. All in all, one of my favorite meals recently, for sure!

And, as for my CSA box. This week we got: romaine lettuce (or leaf?), butter lettuce (?), spinach, mixed baby greens, pea shoots (I've never tried these before and can't wait!), radishes, sage, rosemary, egyptian onions (look like big green onions with flowers like scapes), rhubarb and a loaf of multigrain bread. YUM! Picking up the CSA box and seeing what we get that week is one of my favorite things ever. I love surprises, and this is the best kind of surprise!
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Since I had dinner out last night, I didn't do a whole lot with my veggies last night except admire them. But, for lunch today I made a green salad and an eggsalad sandwich. Eggsalad is one of my favorites, but I haven't made it in a while because I normally put a TON of mayo in it, so it's totally not healthy. But, I made some up last night that is definitely better for me than the old-style kind. I used five organic, free range eggs (these were from the Polish Hill bee guy, Deron Johnson) and hard-boiled them, then added about 4 T. of vegan mayo (I used Heidi's recipe from Super Natural Cooking--below), 2 T. real mayo, 1 t. yellow mustard and sea salt and pepper. I like my eggsalad straight up--nothing fancy, not too mayonnaise-y. I had it with a bunch of the butter lettuce and some of the multigrain bread (lightly toasted). I tried to wait until lunch time, but I ate it around 11:00 a.m. I could not help it.

Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Mayonnaise
(makes 1 1/2 cups)
[Super Natural Cooking, p. 200]

8 oz extra-firm tofu
2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 t. fine-grain sea salt
1/2 t. dijon mustard
pinch of cayenne pepper

Wrap the tofu in a few paper towels, then press and gently squeeze to release excess moisture. Combine the tofu, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, mustard and cayenne in a food processor and blend until very smooth, 30 seconds or so. Thin with warm water to reach desired consistency.
[Ehrrin's note: this is a great base for any flavor you want to add. I've used it to make aioli, miso mayo and wasabi mayo. So easy and so good!]

Tonight I have a work dinner at LeMont. Ellen's going as my date, and we will be hooking up some serious old-skool "fancy". I've been there once before (for another work function, different job), and the view is magnificent, the decor bizarre, and the food was very much so-so. I already know what I'm having tonight because I had to pick my menu items last month: salad, pesto pasta (the token vegetarian meal) and creme brulee. It should be interesting. This will be the first time that my worlds have collided with work peeps and friends. And, my work peeps are...let's say...odd. They're all computer genius types, so they have various levels of social skills. I find them to be endlessly fascinating, and I'm really looking forward to seeing them all fanced-up.
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I need to start brainstorming some recipe ideas for my upcoming beach trip. So far I'm thinking:
-find a good recipe for veg "crabcakes" (QS wrote back, but skipped the part where I asked for the recipe. darn.)
-Heidi's recipe for "Yucatecan Street Corn with Lime, Chile Powder and Grated Cotija"
-Heidi's recipe for "Wheat Berry Salad with Citrus, Toasted Pine Nuts, Feta and Spinach"
-SarahGrams's mom's crepes with some interesting fillings/toppings
-fresh rolls
-veggie sushi

Anyone have any other good (and impressive) recipes for my 9th(?) annual all-gal beach extravaganza?


Anonymous said...

awww man.....i have a few recipe ideas in my noggin, but i can't WAIT to try yours!! they sound fab!! (i was thinking of making some salads here at home so we could nosh on 'em throughout the week---maybe a quinoa/tahini/chickpea salad and an edamame salad....thoughts?)

also, heidi has a good recipe for a delicious egg salad sand. on her blog using, like, actual EGGS (did that sound snarky?):

6 large eggs
1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Salt and pepper
A tiny squeeze of lemon juice
2 stalks celery, washed and chopped
1/2 bunch chives, chopped
2 small handfuls of lettuce
8 slices of whole grain bread, toasted

Place the eggs in a pot and cover with cold water by a 1/2-inch or so. Bring to a gentle boil. Now turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for exactly seven minutes. Have a big bowl of ice water ready and when the eggs are done cooking place them in the ice bath for three minutes or so - long enough to stop the cooking. Crack and peel each egg, place in a medium mixing bowl. Add the mayonnaise, a couple generous pinches of salt and pepper, now mash with a fork. Don't overdo it, you want the egg mixture to have some texture. If you need to add a bit more mayo to moisten up the mixture a bit, go for it a bit at a time.

Stir in the celery and chives. Taste, and adjust the seasoning - adding more salt and pepper if needed.

To assemble each egg salad sandwich: place a bit of lettuce on a piece of toast, top with the egg salad mixture, and finish by creating a sandwich with a second piece of toast.

Make 4 sandwiches.


Ashley said...

I'm totally with you on the egg salad sandwich love, but I'm surprised that BOTH recipes posted here lack the two defining and taste-a-licious ingredients for an egg salad:
1. Dill, and lots of it
2. Paprika, just a dash.

I got this recipe at fish class the other day. You could either leave out the squid, or add something else in its place:

1.5 lb cleaned squid
2 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine these ingredients and marinate overnight:
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp roasted garlic
1/2 cup sliced hearts of palm
1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts, not marinated
3 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs chopped basil
1/4 cup olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Grill the squid on high heat for 3-5 minutes
Slice the squid and add all the remaining ingredients
Toss all ingredients together and serve
This salad can be served hot or cold

It was the bomb. I liked it even w/o the squid.

Ehrrin said...

Hey! I used actual eggs! I just *also* used some tofu!

I almost made Heidi's egg salad, but I just really like mine--plain and straight-up. Although I will try hers at some point.

I can't get down with the dill, either, Ash. I'm an egg salad purist. But, that squid salad sounds good. I'm going to try that without the squid some time.

And, nowlzie--your salad ideas sound fab!

Ashley said...

If you say so. I used to be an egg salad purist, until I discovered that adding chopped onions makes it super delicious. Once I added the onions, I started adding all kinds of other stuff, and now I'm fully converted.

But, as you like it.

Anonymous said...

dammit. my bad. i thought the "eggless" portion of the mayo recipe referred to the entire sandwich.

now i want an egg salad sammy in the worst way.