Friday, September 28, 2007

everybody's workin' for the weekend!

Recently Kramer challenged me to a (Vegan) Reuben-Off. She talked some smack, but honestly I knew that I would be the victor. For one, I think that vegans sometimes forget what "real" food tastes like while they comfort themselves with vegan "cheese", and that this distorts their sense of what tastes good (to others). So, there's that. And, also I've been in Kramer's kitchen.

So, I was feeling pretty good about it. But, she invited me over for a preview last night--her vegan reubens and beers. And, dood, it was damn good. Like, day-um good! It was a taste sensation. I wish I'd had my camera with me.

So, I cleverly suggested that we transform the Reuben-Off into more of a Reuben Party. So, we're trying to talk Mags into hosting said party, and transforming it into a potluck. She did, after all, recently state: "Lesbians having potlucks is a sterotype that's just not true enough!"

Kramer just snarkily stated via gmail chat that we should call this little get-together "The First Annual Started Out As A Reuben-Off Til E Tasted The Amazingness Of Kramer's Reuben And Chickened Out Potluck".

No comment.

I know, inside, that I am still a:
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I think it'll be win-win for everyone! And, Kramer has said that she'll also make one of her famous vegan cheesecakes. I've also tasted that, and it is real-real-rill good, too.

I didn't hit up the farmers market yesterday, so I'll probably hit the N.Side one today. They don't have the pierogies or the fig man, but it's still a good'un. I can't wait until first frost so they'll be brussels sprouts! My mouth is watering already! Plus, they are the cutest vegetable ever! I hated them when I was a kid, but I want to make up for lost time. Yum.

I'm so glad it's the almost-weekend! And, it's payday (a joy that comes but once per month for this guy)! Woot!

Sunday night will conclude my two-week pet-sitting gig, and I'm so excited to wrap it up, and be back home with my own babies full-time again and my own space, humble though it may be. Home sweet home.

Have a great weekend, peeps!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

farewell, friends.

So, I did it. I finished QAF last night. And, I actually had four (not three) episodes, which was awesome. But, I'm sad! I honestly don't think I've ever gotten so wrapped up in a show. I think it was, in part, just that I was watching them on DVD, but even though I'd never say it was the BEST show ever, I think I might be my favorite show ever.

Farewell, friends...
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But, I suppose I had to rejoin life at some point, eh? Seriously. I haven't been reading much, cooking much, and definitely not cleaning much (although I don't actually think that is QAF's fault).

[Whoops! I actually just posted this blog accidentally! I'm not done yet!]

In other news, I'm planning to visit the Bloomfield Farmers Market after work. I like this one especially because one stand has these amazing (and huge!) stripy heirloom tomatoes, another is a little old man who sells figs, and you can buy pierogies (either choose from a bunch of flavors to take home--I think frozen? or they also have some potato-n-cheese ones already made and hot and buttery and oniony and delicious there ready to go). That is what I call a good time.

In fact, I'm starvin' marvin right now, didn't bring lunch, and am feeling a little cranky because of it. I hate spending money to eat out at lunch. If I'm gonna do that, I want to be dining with pals. And, the only thing I can think of around here that's kinda striking my fancy is Crepes Parisiennes, and it's kinda pricey. Hmmm... okay, I have to walk down the street to the ATM anyhow, so I'll just see what happens.

Apart from all that, you may remember that I mentioned some controversy a month or two that was being discussed on the Queer Events list. It concerned a transgendered woman who was turned down as a performer for Celebrate The Night (CTN), a women's variety show in celebration of coming out. Well, it's erupted a few times on the list since then, and is again. This week the City Paper published a cover story about the issue, and it's really good (I'm even quoted a couple of times), and has re-sparked the discussion about gender, transinclusion and women-only spaces. Very interesting. You can find the article here. As an alternative to the event, I'm going to join Jessi, her partner Emilia, Sue, E-dawg and some others for Cambodian food.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

end of an era

Friends, I have some sad news (for me). This evening I will be concluding the final season of QAF, which will leave me in the depths of despair from which I may never recover. Although, Kramer did send me this site, and that helps. A little.

Although, on the bright side, after I finish watching, and don't have to be concerned about spoiling myself with spoilers, then I can start ravenously reading all the online chatter and slash whilst I lick my wounds.

Oh, Brian, how I will miss you! How I will miss you all!

Okay, I'm gonna try to pull myself together and get through this blog post. Pray for my soul.


Okay, to follow up on my O.B. rant the other day, my friend Dra emailed me and suggested that maybe I was putting it in the wrong place (!) or that I hadn't removed the plastic wrap. Um, no. O.B.s were obviously created as miniature torture devices to keep me down. If you like them, then I will just have to pray for your soul. And, your delicate lady-parts.

Down with O.B.!

And, in other news, I stopped by Whole Foods yesterday to get the China-Bear her Hip Action treats, and guess who I ran into! The Hurd!
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Hurd was filling her little basket to the brim with fresh veggies and other delicious ingredients. It warmed the cockles of my little ol' heart! She was going home to try her hand at the Butternut Squash a la Gooch. I can't wait to hear how it turned out! And, it was just fun to have a hurd to tool around the grocery store (and then liquor store) with.

Also, Karen sent me a list of places to check out for cooking clases! Karen, you are a peach! Here's it:

Passionate Food
Sweetwater Cooking
Food, Glorious Food
A big list of places from the library!

Sweet! (Jess, and any other of you dear readers who are interested in taking classes, lemme know if anything strikes your fancy!)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Last night I attended a "Knife Skills" class at Chop, Wok & Talk, through CCAC. I'd been pretty excited about it, because even though I genuinely like to chop/dice/mince, I thought maybe I could learn some new tricks that would help me be more efficient.

But...not really. The only new thing I learned was a good method for cutting bell peppers (cut off top and bottom, then sort of shave down the sides, leaving all the ribs and seeds in tact in one unit). The food we made was really 'eh' (guacamole, beef-vegetable soup, "mushroom" potatoes--cut to look like mushrooms, zucchini "fans", some chicken tender thing, and a red pepper medley thing). Actually, the guac and the red pepper thing were okay (but they used pre-sliced almonds! it's "knife skills", people!). Everything else was bland and uninspired. Frozen vegetables in the soup! Dessert was a half-frozen Sara Lee cheesecake! I'm disappointed; it's just really not what I had in mind at all.
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But, on the upside, gal-about-town and friend-of-the-blog Jess was also in the class, and it was nice to see her, and she gave me a nice compliment about this here blog.

Does anyone know of anywhere to take good cooking classes? I emailed both culinary schools a few months ago about public classes, and never got a response from either. Hmmm.

On a completely different note, I was searching for fig recipes, and came across this site. Hi-larious!

And, on another note still, I did have some good eatin' yesterday. At the party the other day, Jr. mentioned a new ice cream shop, Oh Yeah! in Shadyside. My bus delivers me just a couple doors down from there (while I'm at my current pet-sit gig), so I checked it out after work. The concept is an upscale ice cream parlor and cafe. All their coffees are fair-trade and locally roasted (at La Prima), and their ice creams are local, too. They use local favorites Dave-n-Andy's (this blog hates ampersands!) and Woo City (from Ohio). Woo City is all natural and organic, and also features a line called "Woo Fu" that's vegan and tofu-based (hear that, Kramer? they had lots of vegan stuff). Okay, so back to Oh Yeah!. The way it works is that you select an ice cream base (or two, or more), and create your own flavor using "mixins". And, there are gajillions of options. So many, in fact, that I was a little overwhelmed. But, I went with the Extreme Vanilla (gorgeously flecked with vanilla bean seeds, which made me think of Heidi) ice cream as a base, and added in cashews and caramel. Not the most adventurous, but it sure was good. Chock full of mixins--just the way I like it. Some of the more unusual add-in, I mean mixin, flavors were figs, hot peppers, seaweed, avocados, wasabi peas, smoked salmon and hemp protein. But, they had all the standards, too. Actually, it put me in mind of DQ Blizzards, but for the upscale crowd (like me. heh.). It's pricey, but a nice indulgence, and I love that they're supporting FTO and local and organic. Good stuff. They were missing curry as an add-in, though. 'Cause I still dream about Baby Boo's coconut-curry-caramel-cashew ice cream creation. Dang. And, I know E-dawg would add salted caramels. And, I agree wholeheartedly.

Oh, and ps! They're also dog-friendly, so you can bring your favorite pooch-pal with you, and they have dog-ice cream! The K-Bear is so there. If you didn't know, the K-Bear enjoys a good dog-friendly venue, especially when they feature dog treats, and especially-especially when they feature his adorable mug on their website. Check out the gallery at the Dozen Cupcakes site to see the K-Bear gettin' down with his own bad self and a dog-cupcake! (his picture is currently on the bottom row, far left)

Monday, September 24, 2007

o.b.--NOT the way it should be.

All morning I've had that jingle from the old O.B. tampon commercials in my head:

O.B.! It's the way you should be! Keep it simple, and set yourself free...from the extra...something-something...just try O.B. and you'll see!

I hate O.B.

I found myself in a desperate situation this morning with nothing but O.B. on hand. On my second try, I kinda got it, um, in place, but it was so uncomfortable it almost made me cry out of anger and frustration. And, there were no shops open anywhere between the house (where I'm pet-sitting), the bus stop and work. That is not a good way to start the day. How does anyone use these torture devices?! Monday morning + O.B. makes for one surly E.K.

Moral of this story? O.B. can suck it.

But, let's leave all that behind us, and concentrate on the good stuff--which is, of course, the weekend. And, it was a very special weekend because it was Maggie's birthday! Woot! She had her 2nd Annual Pittsburgh Birthday Potluck Party on Saturday evening, and I think I can safely say that a good time was had by all. Mags, Kramer, E-dawg and I reconvened the next morning (on Marge's actual birthday) for coffee and leftover cake, and a post-game discussion of our highlights and lowlights of the party the night before. It was all highlights, with very few lowlights! My highlights were: an excellent group of folks that seemed to be just the right mix, incredibly awesome food, super music--both the jams from the debut of DJ B.T. Hurd and the song stylings of The Gooch, encouragement (for all kinds of stuff) from our lovely hostess, and the peep show. My lowlights: none.

For the potluck I made a dish that is quickly becoming one of my ol' standbys--Eric Gower's recipe for Edamame Salad with Pickled Ginger from his The Breakaway Cook cookbook. I've talked about this on the blog before, and you can find the recipe here in the archives.
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I also made a cake which I believed to be Maggie's favorite flavor--Apple-Walnut with Cream Cheese Frosting. But, when I said, "Guess what kind! It's your favorite!" She excitedly replied, "Lemon Poppyseed!". heh. But, then she recanted and said that Lemon Poppyseed used to be her favorite until a couple years ago when her loyalties shifted over to Apple Walnut. Either way, it was tasty. I got the recipe online from Shirl. Thanks, Shirl! (one note, Shirl makes this as a sheet cake, and I made two 9" rounds so as to look more birthday party-ish. So, I doubled the recipe for the frosting).
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And, here's the spread:

One of my favorite dishes was Gooch's butternut squash. I had a butternut squash in my fridge, so I made it yesterday. So good and so easy!

Squash a la Gooch

1 butternut squash
1 small onion
some honey (2-4 T?)
some cayenne (1/2 t?)

Heat the oven to 375. Half the squash, long-ways, and scoop out the seeds. Half the onion, and place one half in each of the now-seedless cavities of the squash. Put some honey and cayenne into your baking dish, and place the squash, cut side down, into the dish (make sure the onion's not too big, because you want the squash to be flush with the pan). Cover loosely with foil, and bake about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your squash. Yuh-um! I had one dish of it straight-up with plenty of the honey-cayenne liquid on top (it generates more liquid when cooking, from the squash, but I probably used about 2-4 T. of honey to start with). Then later I had a dish with some cinnamon and butter and toasted pecans. And, yet later still I had a little bit with some cumin sprinkled on. And, I'm having the last of it for lunch today, again straight-up style.
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Apart from the food, here are some general birthday highlights:
The Birthday Girl, the morning after:
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DJ B.T. Hurd kickin' out the jams:
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Some slow dancin':
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Some fast dancin'/flat-footin':
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Some dirty dancin':
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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

nothing to add

Nothing really to add today. Last night I just QAFfed, pet-sat (they're sweeties!) and did some chillaxin'. And, today I realized that I have to be downtown for the next two days for training (as part of my illustrious "career development"). Normally I'd be excited to be out of the office, but my supervisor is also going, and she's...a challenge. She means well, but still. Woah. But, that said, I probably won't have time to blog. So, try not to miss me too much! I will be thinking of you all while I'm brushing up on my (already exemplary) Excel skills. I do love a spreadsheet.

While I'm pet-sitting I won't be able to meet Kramer for our morning nature walks. Bummer. But, I did walk to work today (from Ellsworth and Spahr-ish to CMU), and that was nice. Especially 'cause I stopped for a latte and a bagel along the way--which probably didn't help to maximize the workout. But, on the up side, I weighed myself on the pet-sit house's scale, and I miraculously lost five pounds. Some may say that her scale's probably off, but just let me enjoy it for time being, k?

It's veggie day! That always makes me happy. And, there's apple cider, harbinger of autumn. Dig.

I haven't made this cake, but it's been all the rage on Alison Bechdel's blog for a while, so I just might give it a try soon. It sounds bomb!

The Maoist Orange Cake Recipe
(Courtesy of LondonBoy)

This works by starting with a simple cake, already moist because of the almonds instead of flour, and then makes it moister by adding moisture (in the form of a fruit syrup) after cooking. The one drawback is that you have to make it the day before you want it.

Cake Ingredients

1.5 oz breadcrumbs (a bit stale is good, or dry the bread slightly)

3.5 oz ground almonds

7 oz caster sugar

1.5 tsp baking powder

4 eggs

7 fl oz sunflower oil (or, if you’re rich, 1 fl oz almond oil and 6 fl oz sunflower oil)

Zest of 1 large orange

Zest of 0.5 standard/large lemon

Syrup Ingredients

Juice of 1 large orange

Juice of 0.5 standard/large lemon

3 oz caster sugar

2 cloves

1 cinnamon stick (optionally, 1-2 stars of star anise, if you like the taste, and a dash of orangeflower water)


First, invoke the goddess Rotunda, because she’ll surely be visiting you soon.

Mix the dry ingredients, beat in the oil and eggs, and then add the zest. Put the batter in a pre-oiled 8 inch cake tin. Put into a cold oven (not preheated) and turn the heat to 375 degrees, baking for about 45 minutes. Use a cake skewer to test that it’s done - if it’s not , it soon will be. Leave it in the tin to cool for a few minutes, then turn it onto a high-rimmed plate (you’ll see why when you do this!). About 10 minutes before you take the cake out of the oven, mix the fruit syrup ingredients in a large saucepan (except the orangeflower water), and melt them together over a medium heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 5 minutes, then allow to cool a little, while you test the cake and put it on the plate. If you’re adding orangeflower water to the syrup, do it now. Use a skewer to make holes in the cake, and, while cake and syrup are still warm, pour the syrup over and into the cake, aiming for the holes so the syrup permeates the cake. (Leave the cinnamon stick etc in the pan, of course.) As the cake cools it will start to leak a bit: baste it, so as much of the syrup is soaked up as possible. This can take ages, and you might be left with some syrup that just doesn’t get soaked up. Eat that, or add it to fruit salad. Finally, put foil over the top of the cake, and leave it in the fridge overnight, to let the flavours settle. It keeps well, too (provided you put it at the very back of the fridge behind an uninteresting salad and don’t let your boy/girlfriend see it). Serve still slightly cold, sprinkled with a little icing sugar.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is caster sugar the same as granulated sugar?

A quick Google for caster sugar provided: "Also called superfine sugar. It is pulverized granulated sugar. It can be purchased or prepared at home by whizzing some granulated sugar in the blender."

Could you please translate what "ZEST of 1 large orange" means?

The zest is the outermost part of the peel of a citrus fruit -- just the orange part, not the bitter white pith underneath. You get it off with either a zester, a grater or vegetable peeler, in which case you would then mince it finely for a cake. Try to use an organic orange to avoid nasty chemicals.

Could you convert the recipe to U.S. measurements?

Here is a good Internet source for that:

Is the cake tin round or square? How deep should it be?

The recipe simply says to put the batter in a pre-oiled 8-inch cake tin. It does not mention a specific form of a tin so my guess is this to be a matter of taste.

just got this email (below) from Slow Food Pittsburgh. There are some great resources for local eating:


If you want to eat local, you’ll find plenty of company. Search these databases to locate everything from pastured eggs close to your home, to a beef farmer selling directly to the community, to a variety of farmers who can provide a reliable source of locally grown and often organic vegetables. And see what people in other areas are doing.

The FoodRoutes web site is a fantastic resource for those seeking information on our food system. It offers communications tools, technical support, networking and information resources to organizations and groups nationwide that are working to rebuild local, community-based food systems. Their website has a 'Find Good Food' searchable database powered by FoodRoutes Network has created partnerships with community-based nonprofit organizations across the country involved in nurturing strong regional markets for locally grown foods. Each organization is creating and implementing a "Buy Local" marketing campaign helps bridge gaps between community farmers and consumers.

Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture works with the farmers that grow our food, the consumers that eat the food, and those concerned with the ecological well-being of our environment and natural resources. PASA educates consumers about about local farms and where they are located. Marketing includes sponsorship of local food events and an online e-newsletter.

Buy Fresh Buy Local is the national initiative by FoodRoutes Network to promote locally grown foods. PASA is a regional partner with Food Routes. The Pennsylvania campaign is part of an even larger, nationwide BFBL initiative organized by FoodRoutes Network.

The web site allows farmer members to create an extensive custom entry including photos of the farm, and allows visitors to sign up for customized updates that are sent whenever a new listing is added or an existing listing is modified within a particular area. They also have a new calendar section and online store. LocalHarvest includes PASA as an option in their registration process so people who want to find PASA members in their area will get a complete list.

Traveling? The Eat Well Guide is the easiest and most comprehensive way to find wholesome, fresh, sustainable food in the U.S. and Canada. Find food in your neighborhood and when you travel that is healthful, raised humanely, better for the environment and that supports family farmers.

The local chapter of Slow Food USA promotes fresh, local and sustainably grown food. Special projects include support of Farmers@Firehouse Market and LapTop Butchershop, a quarterly opportunity for purchasing pastured foods by e-mail. Monthly events promote chefs, restaurants, ethnic diversity and the pleasures of the table.

These locavores (no “L” in the spelling) are a group of concerned culinary adventurers who are making an effort to eat only foods grown or harvested within a 100 mile radius of San Francisco. “We recognize that the choices we make about what foods we choose to eat are important politically, environmentally, economically, and healthfully.”

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Do you know the term "crompy"? Probably not since the E-dawg invented it as part of the Ellenisms series (see also: "that's my jam!" and "rill good" and "hey hon!"). It's a mix of crampy + grumpy, and it perfectly sums up my feelings about today. I woke up with a headache, weighed myself and found that I was up three pounds from yesterday (I have to believe it's the monthly bloat), came out to find a flatter-than-flat tire, and then had to send an email this morning that was kinda scold-y-ish or something. Blah!

But, putting that aside, I did have a lovely evening last night. It was "Queers: They're What's For Dinner!" night at the Gypsy Cafe, and their food is always fantasmic. They had an array of appies featuring such delights as something-creamy-and-delicious-on-little-toasts, a kalamata hummus, an olive tapenade, and a Tuscan white bean dip. And, a delightful dinner featuring a beautiful green salad with tons of veggies, roasted balsamic veggies (a Hurd's favorite), a pasta with pesto and tomatoes, and--my favorite--a dish with polenta and eggplant. Gah-rum (equals yum). [The next queer dinner will be 10/15, so holla if you need an evite].

I start pet-sitting today for the menagerie--Ripley (dog), Cricket (cat), Macy (cat) and Drake (iguana)! I'm looking forward to it. I just hope that QAF will play on her computer, 'cause there's no TV! Keep your fingers, toes, and any other appendages you may wish, crossed for me!

In other news, Kramer mentioned Java Fried Rice this morning, and now my uterus won't let it go. She likes it, she loves it, she wants some more of it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

monday, monday

It was a good weekend! Kicked it off with a Hurday.2007 hurdabration. Kramer and I made vegan red velvet cupcakes (aka "hurdcakes") on Thursday night (couldn't talk about them then, 'cause then the Hurd would've known that we were making hurdcakes). We used a recipe from the Christian Vegetarian Association. The recipe was a little effed up (it called for "vegan sugar" twice, but not the flour--which Kramer eventually figured out. freakin' christians trying to mislead us...). We'd originally wanted to decorate them in the style of butts with small black heart tattoos, but the icing just wasn't the decorating kind. And, Kramer's kitchen was...well, she told me to just pretend like it was a cooking show challenge, a la "Dinner: Impossible". They still tasted good, though! I wish I'd thought to take some pictures... I wish I had a tiny spy camera that took excellent photos. Mine is nice, but it's big and heavy and bulky-ish. A spy camera would hit the spot.

Anyhow, we hurdabrated on Friday with a dinner at Abay. I love this place. Not only did they not blink when I came in wearing a dick-in-a-box, but the chef came out and serenaded Hurd with the birthday song and chatted us up a bit.

Then there were sparklers, Hurd wearing the dick-in-a-box, a dis from Kelly's (not giving them a link, 'cause they can suck it) by the rudest waitress in Pittsburgh, a Hurd social-worker style intervention with a poor homeless guy having a hard time on the sidewalk, drinks at 5801, and after I left, it seems that the party continued for some time. Glad you had a good birthday, Hurdcakes!
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Saturday E-dawg and I took a bike ride over to the farmers market. I hadn't ridden for a while--since it got hellishly hot this summer--and, the short ride (about 3 miles each way) kinda, like, totally kicked my ass. In the Strip we hit up the Firehouse Farmers Market (where has Mushrooms For Life been??), Reyna, Mon Amiee Chocolat, Penn Mac and Cafe Richard. Good stuff. I got my first winter squash of the season (butternut; I think I'm going to make this Squash Spice Cake recipe from the current Vegetarian Times) at the farmers market, the Best Flour Tortillas In The World from Reyna, and the best quiche ever at Cafe Richard (mushroom and goat cheese).

We also got approached by some little old man selling raffle tickets for his church. When we passed we goaded me, "Aren't you going to buy a ticket for the pretty lady?!" (meaning E-dawg). Since he kinda-acknowledged we were lesbionic, I bought two--one for me, one for the pretty lady.

Saturday evening I went to a Dining For Diversity dinner with the lovely Ms. Leslie Fleisher at the home of Lee Fogarty where Louise i-don't-know-her-last-name cooked up some delectable grub (two kinds of pasta, two salads, appetizers, and lotsa wine). It was really nice. And, I ran into Sue and Ledcat from PghLesbian, and had a nice chat. We skipped out on the Dessert Reception downtown, but I heard it was a good time, too.

Sunday, I just kicked it with Zeke all day (my dog-sit job and #1 pal). I made a tasty lunch of an omelette with red peppers, onion and goat cheese, along with a spicy fig salad (riffed from a recipe in the current VT), and some warm tortillas and fresh tomato slices. Yuh-um. That fig salad was the bomb. The recipe had you sear the figs (slice in half, cut side down) in a skillet with a little oil and some chili powder. It was bomb. For reals. The original recipe called for artichoke hearts sauteed with onions and garlic and some roasted red peppers. Instead (since I forgot my artichokes), I just sauteed some onions and red peppers (small dice) in a little evoo. I used half for the omelette, and half to make a vinaigrette for the salad (just the onion/pepper mixture, a dash of chili powder, the juice from half a lemon, a splash of red wine vinegar, evoo, and some sea salt and freshly ground pepper).
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Tomorrow I start a pet-sitting gig (one dog, two cats and an iguana) for two weeks, but the oven doesn't work! I think I'm going to make a bunch of soup and salads. And, maybe that spice bread when I'm visiting my pad.

Also, tonight is the "Queers: They're What's For Dinner!" dinner. Want info? Email me, or comment or whatever. It's at the Gypsy Cafe. Should be tastiriffic.

Ooh! We had our weekly weigh-in today. Down two more pounds (five pounds total)! Sweet!

here's some good local food stuff that I just got in an email from Slowfood Pittsburgh:

silver eye exhibition programs
Silver Eye Center for Photography, 1015 East Carson St., Southside

What’s for Dinner? Photographs by Diana Shearwood
This exhibition, on view September 26 – November 24, 2007 features large-format color inkjet prints by Québec photographer, Diana Shearwood. She documents trucks and the huge advertising photographs that embellish them as they travel cross-country to deliver food miles away from where it has been grown. Once the viewer realizes that the images of delicious, mouth-watering food are wrapped around 18-wheeler trucks, it sets in motion a thought process about the food we eat, how it is delivered to us, and more. Silver Eye Center for Photography, 1015 East Carson St., Pittsburgh, PA 15203. New Gallery Hours: Wednesday, Noon – 6:00 p.m., Thursday, Noon – 8:00 p.m., Friday, Noon – 6:00 p.m., Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. or by appointment. 412.431.1810,

Why would anyone photograph trucks?
Artist’s Talk and Opening Reception
Saturday, September 29, 3:00 p.m.
Reception of freshly harvested local foods will begin immediately after Diana Shearwood’s talk from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Refreshments and flowers kindly provided by Blackberry Meadows Farm, Davis & Davis Gourmet Foods, Emerald Valley Artisan Cheese, Le Pommier Bistro Français, Mediterra Bakehouse, Paul’s Orchard, and Pisarcik Greenhouses & Cut Flowers. Silver Eye members and students, free; Non-members, $5.00. Silver Eye Center for Photography, 1015 East Carson St., Pittsburgh, PA 15203. 412.431.1810,

Produce Paparazzi: Grow Pittsburgh Reception
Tuesday, October 16, 7:00 p.m.
Six interns from Grow Pittsburgh have photographically recorded their experiences with two Pittsburgh Public schools as they planted and harvested an edible schoolyard garden. Join us for a reception to enjoy and support the fruits of their labor. Refreshments will be served. Silver Eye members and students, $3.00; Non-members, $5.00. Silver Eye Center for Photography, 1015 East Carson St., Pittsburgh, PA 15203. 412.431.1810,

Longing to keep it local? Food for Thought…
Saturday, November 3, 10:00 a.m.
Join us for a panel discussion on the ways and means of this new trend. Distinguished panelists: Donald Gibbon, Photographer and Consulting Naturalist; Miriam Manion, executive director of Grow Pittsburgh; and Marlene Parrish, food writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Moderated by Erin Hagan, Director of Farm to Table Wellness Program. Panelists will answer questions following the program. Reservations recommended. Refreshments will be served. Silver Eye members and students, $7.00; Non-members, $10.00. Silver Eye Center for Photography, 1015 East Carson St., Pittsburgh, PA 15203. 412.431.1810,

FOOD Book Signing
Saturday, November 10, 4:00 p.m.
Published by Alphabet City, Toronto and MIT Press, Cambridge, 2007Book-signing with Editor, John Knechtel, and featured photographer, Diana Shearwood. Admission is free. Co-sponsored with Joseph-Beth Booksellers. Silver Eye Center for Photography, 1015 East Carson St., Pittsburgh, PA 15203. 412.431.1810,

Alice Waters and Her Delicious Revolution
Wednesday, November 14, 7:00 p.m.
Screening of American Masters PBS documentary. 60 minutes. Admission is free. Silver Eye Center for Photography, 1015 East Carson St., Pittsburgh, PA 15203. 412.431.1810,
Funding for What’s for Dinner? Photographs by Diana Shearwood is provided by The Pittsburgh Foundation, Peg and Ernie Harris, The Juliet Lea Hillman Simonds Foundation, Québec Government Office, New York. Media sponsorship kindly provided by Pittsburgh City Paper and WYEP/91.3 FM.

Longing to keep it local? Food for Thought…
Saturday, November 3, 10:00 a.m.
Join us for a panel discussion on the ways and means of this new trend. Distinguished panelists: Donald Gibbon, Photographer and Consulting Naturalist; Miriam Manion, executive director of Grow Pittsburgh; and Marlene Parrish, food writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Moderated by Erin Hagan, Director of Farm to Table Wellness Program. Panelists will answer questions following the program. Reservations recommended. Refreshments will be served. Silver Eye members and students, $7.00; Non-members, $10.00. Silver Eye Center for Photography, 1015 East Carson St., Pittsburgh, PA 15203. 412.431.1810,

For more information or reservations go to or contact Education Coordinator Sylvia Ehler, 412-431-1810, ext. 11 or

Friday, September 14, 2007

new and improved!

I'm in, like, a billion times better of a mood today. I think there are several factors involved. I got real sleep last night. Was asleep by 10:30-ish, and overslept this morning (no walk, but still). I'd been waking up for the past few days at 4:20 a.m., 3:59 a.m., etc. So, a full-full night's sleep was both overdue and delicious. Plus, it's Friday! TGIF! Also, I got coffee this morning and something to eat (a bagel with egg and cheese and a pear from Eat Unique). I got a bus this morning on the first try, and even got a seat (which hasn't happened since the students came back). Ahhh, much better.

And! And! And! It's Hurday!! What's a hurday, you ask? Well, it's the day that celebrates the Birth of a Hurd! I'm sure that's probably the real reason that everything's a-okay again today. I will be hurdabrating tonight. Wish me luck!
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On the docket this weekend are: dog-sitting my old pal Zeke, a Dining For Diversity dinner, maybe some farmers market action, maybe some bike riding action, definitely some QAF action (although I was sure I'd have two discs for the weekend, but it seems I'll just be getting one tomorrow. that's sad). That's how this guy rolls.

And, maybe some cooking this weekend, too, but I'm not sure what yet. Maybe some soup. Is it soup weather (I mean hot soup here, people) yet?

For your viewing enjoyment, here are a couple more pictures of the wildlife...

Mangy (running for apples):
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Kramer and Mangy:
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duck butt:
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a turkey:
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Kramer petting Pup (I didn't have the heart to tell her...):
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Thursday, September 13, 2007


For no good reason I'm in a cruddy mood today. I'm worried that this may be the start of PMS. It's been getting to be a longer and longer period (of PMS, I mean) each month. What the eff? Or, maybe it has nothing to do with it. I don't know, but I'm irritable and grouchy. Grrr! And, I have a ton of work to do (with little to no motivation). Again I say: grr!

But I will say, as a matter of updating, that both the walking and the QAF have been going a-okay. We actually took a few pictures on the walk, but I forgot my card to upload stuff, but do have some pics from Kramer. Here are some of our morning friends:

great blue heron footprints (she was fishing when we got there, and then lazily got out of the water and walked away while we fed the ducks):
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great blue heron:
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duck feeding frenzy:
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our herd! (that's Mangy in the front):
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It's funny; the herd was about 100 yards away when we started feeding the ducks, and then when we turned around, they were waiting patiently about 15 feet away. They snuck up on us!

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Nellie! (I tried picking her up and hugging her today, but she only let me hold her for about 10 seconds before she started wriggling to get down. I love her!) (and, she still likes me best):
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Nellie's breakfast:
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And, here I told Kramer, "Take a picture of us together!" And, uh, that's my arm. Nice shot, Kramer.:
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Hope you're all having a better day than I'm bitching about...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Ugh, no time to blog today. In the meantime, please enjoy this lesbian short film that I found the link for from Alison Bechdel's blog. It's called “Car Accidents and Other Coming Out Stories” by Anne Crémieux.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

running scared

Well, I called off my meet-up/review with Bobcat. That dish just wasn't what I'd imagined *and* the fact that I included the one ingredient she'd told me in advance she didn't like just seemed like an all-around bad idea. Ah, well. I was scared, okay? Hurd accused me of just wanting a good review. I replied, "Yeah. Duh."
But, all that said, it actually was fairly tasty. I had it for dinner last night, and will have it for lunch again today. That's just how I roll.

I just finished Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, and it's so-so-so good! It's got quite a hold list at the library, so request your copy today! And, have I ever mentioned the book The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan that you should also read: tout suite? Oh, I have? Then what're you waiting for?

[That reminds me of Alex which reminds me to ask: anyone know any good cookie recipes that would withstand about a week of travel (to Poland)? Or, any good packaging tricks?]

Okay, in other news, Kramer and I had our Week 2 Weigh-In! I'm down another pound (3 in total, so far), and she went down two (2 in total, so far)! We're on the right track! I still haven't been super-strict with my diet like I was back in the early part of the year, but it's been better, and the walking is definitely helping, and making me feel good, and an exciting wildlife adventure every day!

We've now established our two favorite deer in the herd, Mangy and Scruffy. When we came around the corner today where "our" herd usually hangs out at that time of the morning, Mangy actually galloped up to us, looking for her daily apple snack. I tried passing off carrots again today, and no one was interested. It's gotta be all apples, all the time (luckily Kramer had a stash). But, I left some carrots here and there for any other interested parties (do groundhogs like carrots?), and in one small pile so I can check it tomorrow and see if anyone discovered it (and was like, PAYDIRT!).

And, we finally got to pet Nellie. She's this beautiful white cat with blue eyes that we came across last week (on a grave for a woman named Nellie). Until today she'd always run from us, but she started meowing when she saw us, and today we had cat food! So, she showed us over to an area where we discovered three or four other bowls that had obviously been used for her meals. And, she let us pet her (she liked me best. Just sayin'). And, then we realized that's why she looks chunky, not skinny. But, I'm sure she could use a home for when it starts getting cold, though. Don't you (yes, you!) need an adorable, sweet, beautiful cat named Nellie?

And, we fed the ducks. They just showed up again (for the season) yesterday, and are taking a rest from their migratory journey in the little pond. They heretofore wanted nothing to do with us, but bust out some bread, and they're all ours. A couple of them did this really adorable move with their feet, too, that made them irresistible. And, great blue herons! Did I mention them? Two showed up last week, and have been hanging out by the pond, but they really want nothing to do with us, bread or not. They are really beautiful, though, and their wingspan is just truly amazing.

I'm really glad we're walking because it just feels good, but the animals are what make it worth getting up at the cracka dawn every day. In fact, I want to start going early so we have more time to spend with them. It's just amazing that you get to see them all smack-dab in the middle of the city. In fact, we actually saw five deer (two mamas and three babies) on Kramer's street this morning! That's actually not good, 'cause it's kinda trafficky close to there, but they still looked adorable. Kramer postulated that they'd heard about the apples and were coming to find us. I love the herd! (and, don't worry, I love the Hurd, too).

I will get another two discs (8 episodes) of QAF tonight! I can't wait! I'm meeting a pet-sitting client right after work, then...oh, then!...I have a date with Brian. And, I also need to make another batch of the slow-roasted tomato sauce for freezing. Good times!
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Monday, September 10, 2007

a Hurd versus the herd

Sandra posted a comment the other day mentioning that it was hard to tell a Hurd and the herd apart. So, I thought I'd include some (linked up) visual aids.

a Hurd
the herd

Speaking of a Hurd, you may remember a month or so ago that she asked me why our joint adventures so rarely show up on the blog, while it's "Ellen-Ellen-E-dawg" all the time. And, you may also remember that I replied that it was because so few of our activities are fit for public consumption. This weekend was no exception. Kramer and I were just trying to go about our business and get some groceries (and maybe some Spice Island and a drink or two at Kelly's), but then the Hurd entered the scene, and a very different evening was had by all. And, that's all I'm going to say about that. Except that I was hungover all day on Saturday and missed all my walking and meeting up with the herd, running of errands and changing of oil and going to parties. A Hurd is a bad influence. Just sayin'.

And, Sunday's plans fared no better because our bike escapades were called off due to a weather forecast that included "dreary", "humid" and "scattered showers all afternoon". So, we just went to brunch at Coca instead. Where I enjoyed some Grilled Polenta with Heirloom Tomatoes and Poached Eggs. Yum.

But, I did get in some good quality time with QAF, and have indulged in my first boy-crush in a looooooong time. Brian Kinney (...sigh...) from QAF. He's, like, totally dreamy. I cannot believe that the real life actor who plays him is straight! What the hell? I think I actually want to be Brian more than anything else, but still. Dang. Check out this short video of Brian and Justin that the Hurd sent me. Which also made me realize that there are a LOT of Brian/Justin videos out there. Goody.


Okay, what? So, cooking or something, right? So, on Saturday I made up a little salad that is similar to several other summer salads I've done in that it's tomatoes, potatoes and some type of bean with a vinaigrette dressing. This one was baby yellow potatoes (that were incredibly creamy and firm and delicious), red, orange and green zebra tomatoes, green beans, onions, torn basil leaves and a simple vinaigrette with:
-lemon juice
-olive oil
-minced shallot
-sea salt and freshly grated pepper
This is a super-easy, super-fresh and super-pretty. See?
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I had it with some lovely corn on the cob (although, I have to say that it didn't even come close to the corn from my CSA last week in terms of juicy deliciousness. I mean, it was good, but that other corn was stellar).
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Yesterday I took stock of the contents of my kitchen, and whipped up a little casserole. Plus, I'm meeting up with Bobcat/Jess this evening, and had promised to bring another dish for her to review. So, I asked her if there's anything she doesn't like. You know what she said? Sausage. And, I said, don't worry about that; I'm vegetarian. And, then you know what I did? Added veggie sausage (Gimme Lean) into the dish. WTF? I'm an airhead. Also, while the dish is tasty, it's not perfect, and I'd much rather have her taste something great. But, it's probably better to have to taste something that's still at the drawing-board stage than something I already know is good, right? ugh. I woke up in a panic about it when I remembered the stupid sausage. Plus, there are just several things I'd change about the dish (less fennel, more nutmeg, a thicker egg/cheese mixture layer). And, the last thing I gave her to taste was a tarte in which I'd forgotten the cheese. I think I'm doomed.
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So, I wrote down the recipe for this, but I think I'm going to keep working on it before I give you that.
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But, the layers were:
bottom--potatoes, onion, green pepper
2nd--veggie sausage
3rd--roasted eggplant and garlic
topping--panko with butter and pulverized dried shittakes
I was sorta imagining a veggie moussaka, but I didn't actually have any moussaka recipes on hand, so I just winged it. The egg/cheese layer should have been way thicker. Okay, I think I'm just freaking out about the pressure to perform and NOT picking a winner for that kind of scrutiny. If it were just me eating it, I'd probably be raving about it. Sheesh.

Friday, September 7, 2007

run, e-dawg, run

Did you guys know that E-dawg is a runner? She started a few months ago with a goal to run a half-marathon in Chicago, and has trained and raced relentlessly since. Even in the heat. Even when I (maybe, a little bit, somewhat hysterically) cautioned her not to, complete with charts and graphs. But, she persisted, and today she heads to Chicago. Sunday is the race. I'm vying to be Most Enthusiastic Fan--Pittsburgh Contingent, from afar. Good luck, E-dawg! You are a champ! Go, E-dawg! Go, E-dawg! Go, go, go, E-dawg!
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In other news, I visited the Bloomfield Farmers Market for the first time yesterday. I didn't need anything except some apples for the herd, but I ended up coming out with tons of stuff (corn, beans, apples, grapes, tomatoes, basil, some free mango Rita's Italian Ice, some pierogies). It's a really nice market, and had some (seemingly) really small farms. I bought all my stuff from the little guys to encourage them to keep coming back. And, I had big plans of making up another batch of the Slow-Roasted Heirloom Tomato Sauce (from yesterday's post) to freeze (for the glorious taste of summer tomatoes in the dead of winter), but it was too hot to turn on my oven to 400 degrees for four or so hours. So, that's on the agenda for this weekend. Instead I ate some pirogies from the market. I forgot to note where they came from because I was drunk with the smells of frying onions. So freakin' good. Not, of course, "diet food", but still. Dang.
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Also, I do "need" to go to the farmers market tomorrow, but only for mushrooms! I'm not allowed to buy anything else. Except rose jelly. I heard that Najat's will have homemade rose jelly this week. Okay, and maybe tortillas from Reyna. But, that's it! Well, maybe something from Cafe Richard...
Argh! I can't be trusted!

But, I do need to make a dish for a party a friend is having tomorrow evening (a Northside Mix-n-Mingle), and I need to make a dish on Sunday to take to Bobcat/Jess for when we meet up on Monday for Scrabble (and possibly another forthcoming food review!). And, I need to make some food for our bike ride/picnic on Sunday afternoon. So, I need to buy stuff, right?

A girl at work told me about a recipe she made last night--artichoke pesto with pasta (a Rachel Ray recipe). Sounds fantastic. And, I'm super-hungry. I want that Right Now. I might have to try that out this weekend. Maybe thickened with some yogurt (and cream cheese?) for a dip...? She didn't remember the exact recipe, but thought it was artichoke hearts, evoo, lemon zest, parsley and walnuts. I'm sure I can figure it out. Hmmm...

Anyhow, I hope you all have a lovely weekend. Cross your fingers that it doesn't rain on Sunday afternoon!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

good eats

I love CSA day, which for me is Wednesday. This week we got basil, a lovely assortment of heirloom tomatoes, corn, green and banana(?) peppers, green onions, garlic, beets, green beans, potatoes, chard...I think that's it. E-dawg said she got zucchini and lettuce, too, instead of the chard. It's fun to pick up your veggies, too. Sometimes the woman that lives in the house where we pick up (on the front porch) is outside, and she's really friendly and sweet. And, you can tell the other CSA-ers coming up the street. Everyone's smiling and happy and full of good cheer. I freakin' love good cheer! All of us that normally may not go out of our way to chat with strangers belt out a hearty "Hello! How are you?" when we're picking up our CSA shares. I [heart] local agriculture!

Speaking of...

Sept 16-22 is Local Food Week! Check out these great events! (from

PASA Western Region Local Food Week
Where: Local Food Week occurs in various locations in Western Pennsylvania
When: Sun Sep 16th 12:00 PM - Sat Sep 22nd 12:00 PM

Please call 412-697-0411 or email for more information. The list of events will soon be downloadable from the western regional page of this website. Here is the basic listing of events:

Sunday,September 16 SAVOR, SIP AND SOCIALIZE
Local Food Kick-Off Event at WYEP Studios with the Mavens.
5:30-8:00 p.m. $10

Monday, September 17 FARM FANFARE:
A Festival at East Liberty Farmers’ Market featuring cooking and music. 3:30-6:00 p.m.

East End Food Co-Op shows us how to make the most of the season’s local bounty with the cooks of the Co-Op Café.
7:00-8:30 p.m.

Dr. Will Clower and Enrico’s Ristorante show us how local foods compliment the Mediterranean Habits of Healthy Eating. Reservations suggested. 6:30-8:00 p.m. or call 412-363-5201

PASA and the PA Restaurant Association team up to feature locally grown food at area restaurants from Monday-Thursday. For restaurants and times go to

Enjoy a three-course local food dinner at the Pines Tavern from Tuesday through Saturday. Five dollars from each dinner benefits PASA and its programs. Reservations suggested.

Wednesday, September 19
Join Executive Chef Bill Fuller and the students from Helen Faison Arts Academy in their school garden.
1:00-3:00 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.

Shop at Whole Foods Market and their farmer’s market. Five percent of sales benefit PASA and its programs.

Thursday, September 20
A festival at the Washington Main Street Market featuring cooking and entertainment. Washington, PA 3:00-6:00 p.m.

Venture Outdoors will host a hike in Schenley Park with a catered meal from Café at Phipps. 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Venture Outdoors Members - $12, Nonmembers - $15

Culinary Bounty and Five French Fusion Restaurant team up for dinner to highlight the best in Northwest PA food and wine. Reservations suggested. North East, Pennsylvania

Friday, September 21
A festival at the Oakland Farmers’ Market featuring cooking and entertainment. 3:30–6:00 p.m.

A seasonal, local feast to remember at the Carnegie Science Center. 6:30 p.m. Sponsored by Parkhurst Dining Services. For reservations call 412-697-0411 or visit

Saturday, September 22
Farmers @ the Firehouse Market” with Slow Food Pittsburgh, 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Taste a selection of local products at McGinnis Sisters, Monroeville and Brentwood locations. 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Test your salsa making skills to win a prize.
Ligonier, PA 7:00-9:00 a.m. Call 412-697-0411 from more information.

Meadville Market House with Friends of the Market House
Meadville, PA 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. $20

So, what'd I do with that beautiful produce you ask? I ate it! Well, not all of it--yet, but lots of it. I got three ears of corn, and ate them up. All three ears were awesome, two of them were so good I nearly cried. Sweet, juicy, tender kernels. That is what corn is supposed to taste like! Did you know that corn (and some other veggies like peas) starts to break down its sugars into starches as soon as it's picked? So, corn should be cooked immediately because the sugar in the kernels rapidly turns to starch and consequently toughness. So, that's what I did, as soon as I got home I started some water and shucked my corn. I'd only planned to eat two ears, but it was too good not to eat it all. I just brought some salted water to a ready-to-almost-simmer stage, plunked the cobs in, and cooked them for about five minutes. At which time these little lovelies were ready to oop with juicy goodness. I had that with some roasted green beans, adapted from a Mollie Katzen recipe in The New Moosewood Cookbook. Here's what I did:

Roasted Green Beans
(vegan; makes about four servings, but you'll want them all for yourself)

a bunch of green beans (usually around 1/2-1#?, but I didn't have that many last night), washed and trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small onion, thinly sliced
about 10 cloves of garlic, peeled
extra virgin olive oil
1-2 T. balsamic vinegar (I used a black fig vinegar, which has a red wine vinegar base, but tastes sorta balsamic)
toasted walnuts, broken into pieces
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush about 2 T. of evoo on a baking sheet, and scatter the beans, onion and garlic on the sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, shaking the sheet occasionally. On another sheet, toast the walnuts for about 5 minutes, then shake, and cook for another 3-4 minutes until toasty brown and fragrant. Remove all from the oven, and put the bean/onion/garlic mixture into a serving bowl and drizzle with the vinegar, and sprinkle liberally with the walnuts. (This is seriously to die for. It's one of my very, very favorite dishes, and it's so easy!)

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after, as dinner:
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Actually, I had two dinners, so maybe I'll call that one an appetizer. Because while I had the oven on, and a bunch of gorgeous tomatoes, I decided to make a slow-roasted heirloom tomato sauce. All in all, I cooked it for about four hours, but it was really easy, and just required some occasional stirring, and one mid-way addition of some ingredients, and it is amazing. Seriously, one of the best sauces I've ever had. It literally bursting with flavor!

Slow-roasted Heirloom Tomato Sauce
(vegan, and doesn't make nearly enough)

A lot of tomatoes (I'm not sure about weight, but I used a pint-size container of those little yellowy-orange pear-shaped beauties--from someone in my office, two romas, 1 small reddish pink (Arkansas Traveler?), 1 larger red, some red plum tomatoes (about 8?), two yellows (Italian Gold?). It sounds like a a lot, but it's really not. They cook down so much that there's hardly anything left of them.
1 small onion
1 handful fresh basil, torn into large pieces, plus more for topping when serving
5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled
a few dashes of cinnamon
a few grates of nutmeg
a little bit of honey (a scant tablespoon?)
a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil (1-2 T)

Basically, I started with a bunch of halved tomatoes, a little evoo and the garlic cloves. Put it in the oven (at 400 degrees, loosely covered), and stirred it (and tasted it) about every half-hour or so. A couple hours in, I added the onion, basil, cinnamon, nutmeg and honey, and about 3 cups of water (it needs it now; they've cooked out all their juices and are caramelizing) then recovered it, still loosely. Then just cooked it until it was the taste and consistency that looked good to me (and, um, I couldn't wait any longer because the heavenly smells were like to drive me crazy!).

I ate it over (here's where it gets non-vegan) egg noodles with some grated parmesan and sprinkled some fresh basil over the top. Oh. My. God. Utterly fantastic. It actually reminded me a little of the Arabian Stew that Kara made a few weeks ago.

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as dinner (um, take two):
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And, I have more for lunch today! Yay! I also have more QAF for tonight. Yesssssssss. I'm actually getting two discs, but I can't stay up so late watching them that I can't get up to walk in the morning. The first day we started walking I just kept thinking how much I hated it, but now it's one of the highlights of the day, it feels great, and all the deer are a fantastic bonus (we fed them more apples today, and have now identified some favorites as "our herd").

What's for dinner tonight? Who knows! But, I did get two gorgeous eggplants from someone at work, so we'll see...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

ps. another good time

What's a better time than a blog-themed True Friend Test(tm)?

Create your own Friend Test here

a good time

You know what's a good time? When it feels like the week just started, but it's already Wednesday afternoon. Hump day, folks. You know what else is a good time? It's CSA day. You know what else is a good time? I will have a new QAF disc when I get home, and two more tomorrow.

(p.s. I just updated yesterday's posts with photos. pps. yes, Nowlze, MamMaw Gini and Aunt Boots. wanna make something of it? i didn't think so.)

Last evening I started to get hungry and also whiny about what I was going to make. So, I just started grabbing veggies from the fridge and countertops, and adding them into a dish I'm calling "Garden Glop". It was sooooo good! I just had the leftovers for lunch. Yum.

Garden Glop
(vegan, if you leave off the goat cheese; serves two giant servings or four side-ish servings)

3 medium-sized red potatoes, sliced in super-thin rounds
1 small sweet onion, small dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 roma and 1 green zebra tomatoes, cut into large chunks (you can use any kind of tomato; that's just what I had on hand)
1 roasted red pepper, cut into medium-sized dice (here's how to roast your peppers. easy, peasy!)
1 c. shittakes, chopped
1 heaping T. dried parsley
1 heaping T chili-garlic paste (find it in asian groceries)
1 handful of fresh basil, chopped
handful of green beans, steamed and cut into small dice on a sharp diagonal
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
some goat cheese, for crumbling on top

So, I sliced the potatoes, and put them in a large skillet with a little evoo and some salt and pepper. I cooked them over med-high heat until they're halfway done, then add in the onion and garlic and lower the heat and cover them loosely (I use a loose piece of foil). Let them cook for about five minutes while you steam your green beans, then shock them in ice water, slice them into small diagonals, and set them aside.

Add the roasted red peppers, chili-garlic paste, tomatoes, mushrooms and parsley to the pan, and cook another five minutes or so. Then add in the basil and green beans, salt and pepper to taste. Dish out, then crumble some goat cheese on top--it'll get all melty and help balance the hot-hot-heat of the chili-garlic paste.

Here's what it looked like mid-way through (isn't it gorgeous?):
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And, here it is all ready to be eaten:
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Kramer and I had a really fantastic walk this morning. I mean, we walked it out and stuff, but it was amazing how many deer (and deer babies! and, even one young buck) were out. Like, literally, gajillions. Literally. Okay, maybe, like, forty or something. Or, thirty. I don't know. A lot. Especially for being right smack-dab in the middle of the city. And, they're so tame! We brought apples and carrots with us today, and they munched several of Kramer's apples (from our CSA last week)--with a long and wily-looking tongue, and came within about five feet of us. Tomorrow Kramer has to be at work at the ass-crack of dawn, so we have to walk even earlier. I think the only way I'll make it out of bed is to picture adorable deer faces.

And, speaking of Kramer, we had the first weigh-in of the Weight-Off-Off this morning. I lost two pounds! Kramer stayed level (she doesn't want to talk about it), but I think we're both going to do really well. Plus, I actually gained a few extra before we started, so my goal is 22, hers is 18. By December 31st. We are winners*!

[*I'll actually be the winner, but still. She can feel like a winner.]

Have you been hearing all about everyone's CSA subscriptions, but are worried you waited too late? Never fear! I just got this info about a fall share that's just getting started. Check it out:


How does this work? You pay for a weekly delivery of fresh produce, including vegetables and fruit. Your weekly delivery contains whatever is harvested that week. We are working with 2 local farms. There are 6 drop sites including, Mt. Lebanon, McKnight Road, Fox Chapel, East Liberty, Moon Township and Bethel Park. Farm to Table.

Your drop site choice will determine your start date. After you sign up for a 10 week subscription, you will receive a confirmation in 24 hours to notify you of your start date.

Last week's organic share contained Wheat berry bread, Large zucchini, Kale, Green pepper, Cheese, Paddy pan squash, Cherry tomatoes, Potatoes, Watermelon.

The non organic share contained Watermelon, Tomatoes, Green pepper, Apples, Nectarines, Cukes, Eggplant.

Farm subscriptions are available for this fall, starting now! The subscriptions last for 10 weeks. Subscriptions start at $200 and large and small shares are available. You can make 2 payments if you would like.

To get the subscription form, or for questions, contact Erin Hagan:
Please let me know if you have any questions.
I can be reached at (412)563-7807 or

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

long weekend, why you gotta be so short?

First, just wanted to pass this along:

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh presents a talk by SFP’s Marlene Parrish

What: Hear about Slow Food Pittsburgh and the challenges of Eating Local!
When: Wednesday, September 12
Time: 6-8 pm
Where: 4400 Forbes Avenue, Oakland, Main, First Floor Quiet Reading Room
Charge: Open to the public

Speaker: Marlene Parrish, co-leader of SFP and food writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

More info: 412-622-3151, or visit

Come and learn about why buying fresh, local and seasonal food matters. If you love to eat and love to shop at farmers’ markets and if you care about the environment and supporting the local economy, you’ll want to hear about Slow Food Pittsburgh in this informal talk.

Plenty of time for questions, and we’ll be giving away some cookbooks, too.
The First Floor Quiet Reading Room won’t be quiet for long.....

I hope everyone had a super long weekend! I definitely did. It was action-packed! In fact, I'm kind of surprised that it all happened in one weekend. That's weird. And, I forgot my dang camera to upload the pics I wanted to include today. Hopefully I'll have it back tomorrow (I think I left it at Maggie's), and can update this post then.

On Friday, E-dawg and I met up at the Greek Festival in our 'hood (North Side represent!) for some delicious treats, some interesting music and some great people-watching. We each got a slice of spanikopita and tiropita (which I'd never had before, and was like the spanikopita without spinach and a fluffier cheese filling). And, I got a box of pastries to take to my mom and stepdad (my mom's favorite dessert is baklava)--a bunch of baklava, some little kourambiethes, a ghalatobouriko and an apricot and a cherry roll. It was a gorgeous assortment, and they were thrilled.

On Saturday morning I drove down to southern WV.
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I got there around 2pm, and the cowgirl party was at 3:00. So, we headed up there, and as soon as we pulled up I could hear Savanah yelling "Ehrrin! Ehrrin! EhrrinEhrrinEhrrinEhrrin Ehrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!"
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That is the most excited anyone has ever been to see me. I liked it. The party was cute, and the kids had fun. Then I went over to my brother's house for more playing and a ride on his new motorcycle.
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Then, went out for Mexican food with my parents (there are three awesome Mexican restaurants in their tiny town, and we went to one I hadn't been to before; this was the best--Acapulco). So good. And, then I made them Huevos Rancheros for breakfast the next morning, to continue on with the theme.

Sunday morning my parents split for Ohio (for my nephew's birthday), and I met up with my brother and Savanah again, and we visited my MamMaw Gini and then my Aunt Boots (where, when we pulled up and got out of the car, Savanah said, "Now, where's them chickens?" 'cause they have some chickens that roost in one of the trees behind their house).

with MamMaw Gini:
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with Aunt Boots:
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After that I hit it back to the 'Burgh, and made it back just in time to get my stuff from the car to the house so that E-dawg could pick me up for the Ditty Bops show at Mr. Small's. They're so cute! And, this tour is the Farm Tour (they say: In addition to playing traditional shows, we will perform benefit concerts on farms to raise money for local farm organizations, "The Growing Connection" and "FARM AID" - Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Dave Matthews and John Mellencamp's nonprofit.)

On Sunday night I sent Kramer a message to say that I was going to oversleep the next day, so we didn't walk yesterday morning. what? it was labor day! the day of rest!--and, she actually called me a chump.

So, I didn't really sleep in yesterday, but I did a lot of chillaxin', nonetheless. I watched five (five!) episodes of QAF, then napped, then read, then went over to Maggie's to do more chillaxin' with she and Kramer. And, we ate some delicious and nutritious quinoa/black bean/veggie bowls. And, I left my camera. Boo. Hoo.

It was back on track this morning with the walk with Kramer. We did about two miles this morning, and, and, and! there were tons of deer. Lots of mamas and babies-still-with-spots. And, they were completely unafraid of us. A couple of them came so close we could almost pet them. It was amazing. (Kramer said "creepy"). Tomorrow we're going to take some deer snacks and hope we run into them again. So cool.

And, tomorrow is our first official weigh-in for the Weight Off-Off! I already can feel that I'm going to kick her ass!

Also, in other news, I signed up for a "Knife Skills" class at Chop, Wok & Talk (through CCAC). yay!