Monday, November 17, 2008

wintry mix

It snowed this weekend.

While I think snow is pretty when it's lain like a blanket over everything and iced the trees in lacy white, I still hate to see this time of year come. (this is NOT the kind of snow we had this weekend, btw).

But, I did do a little cooking in my effort to once and for all eradicate the cold/flu-type thing that's been pestering me and trying to get a foothold for the past week or so. Heidi posted a recipe from Super Natural Cooking on her blog the other day, and it's one that I'd overlooked previously. You can find the post and recipe here. It seemed like the kind of soup that fights off colds. It was good and easy, if a bit plain. I made her "Cornmeal Crunch" recipe to have alongside it. We had that for Sunday dinner along with some roasted acorn squash and onion and some little buttermilk biscuits, and Barbara's Garlic Green Beans with Buttered Breadcrumbs. Luckily, the green beans saved the meal from being completely monochromatic (and I was drinking apple cider, to add another element of golden goodness).

Speaking of that cider, actually, you guys (in the Greater Pittsburgh area) should seek out the cider from Kistaco Farms. I first tasted it when we got it a couple times in our CSA. It's so, so good. The co-op is carrying it right now. Get some! It's the best cider ever!

And, now I have some sad news to report. The last Saturday of the season for the Firehouse Farmers Market is this coming Saturday. And, the last week of the season for the city Farmers Markets is next week. There is one year-round market, but it's a bit sparse.

Farewell, fresh local produce. I'll miss you terribly, and I'll be waiting with bated breath for you in the spring.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I can't, as I'm sure many of you can't, stop thinking about Election Night. Never in my lifetime have I seen so many people celebrating--so joyous, so together as one. All over the country, all over the world, even! It's an amazing thing. I know, of course, that Obama isn't a one-man fix to all our problems, but his win has made me, and so many of us feel HOPE for the first time in so, so long.

Here's my favorite video of the celebrations because it also includes another of my favorite things...Journey.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

for fun

I snagged this from Bill Fuller's blog. While I'm currently a vegetarian, not an omnivore, I have been an omnivore at various times in life, and have always been an adventurous eater. Here's how this little meme works:

Here is the original link. (The parentheticals are mine--ek).

The Omnivore’s Hundred

Here’s a chance for a little interactivity for all the bloggers out there. Below is a list of 100 things that I think every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food - but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you haven’t, mind you; neither have I, though I’ll be sure to work on it. Don’t worry if you don’t recognise everything in the hundred, either; Wikipedia has the answers.

Here’s what I want you to do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile (no, but have tried alligator)
6. Black pudding (hockey pucks of doom)
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese (no, but I've seen it. i think that's close enough)
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters (oh, how I miss oysters...)
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi (I'm always curious to try this, but always go for the sweet or mango)
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea (this just means a traditional tea w/ clotted cream scones, right?)
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat (Have had goat; just not curried)
42. Whole insects (only by accident, which I don't think counts)
43. Phaal (i will rely on its reputation)
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine (Hurd, remember that trip to Toronto?)
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin (clay?)
64. Currywurst
65. Durian (i really want to! i love the idea of a fruit that's been banned for being stinky)
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost (this sounds yummy)
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant (someday...French Laundry or Per Se...)
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Monday, November 10, 2008

beans, beans, good for your heart

Okay, so I hadn't really thought about it until last night, but I made several dishes with beans as the central player. And, that became obvious in our household yesterday evening. I'll say no more.

Except this.

Here's what it looks like the first time you introduce a new bean dish in your home:

And, here's what it looks like when you've introduced the fourth bean dish in one weekend:

And, speaking of bean dishes, here's one of them that I remembered to photograph. We had the Spicy Autumn Burgers last night with some oven baked fries and a basil aioli. (and, I actually had the last burger for lunch today, and they're even better the next day!).

Okay. Enough of beans.

Tonight I think we're going to have pasta with tomato sauce and "meat"balls. There's a recipe in my How To Cook Everything Vegetarian with nuts and rice as the base. Seriously, if you're a vegetarian, you should own this cookbook. It has EVERYTHING, and variations on each recipe. I love it. Mark Bittman thinks of everything. And, he's not even a vegetarian. Amazing.

And, though it has nothing to do with food, I'll share this photo with you of my number one boy and his friend and cuddle buddy, Chewbacca.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

fall back

Okay, before I say anything about food or cooking, I'd just like to express my extreme JOY and ELATION that we have a new President(-elect)!!! I actually feel hope; the dark ages are drawing to a close after eight long years of fear, hate and general idiocy. Hallelujah! We Baraked the vote! Woot!

Alright. I've been posting so infrequently over the past few months that I never even think to photograph my plates until they're at least half-devoured. I'm going to try to start remembering, though because I just love all the colors in autumn cooking. There was a time when I compulsively photographed everything I ate. My hard drive is full of memories of meals enjoyed. So, yeah, my fall resolution is to remember to do that, and hopefully that'll make me blog more.

Anyhow, I cooked a lot this weekend. I was inspired by my new issue of Vegetarian Times magazine, and by my very own copy of Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything Vegetarian that Barbara got me since I kept repeatedly checking it out of the library, and not giving anyone else a turn.

On Saturday morning, we got our sustenance for our trip to the Handmade Arcade from some lovely pumpkin pancakes from the VT recipe for Pumpkin Pancakes with Honey Raspberry Syrup in the article "Kitchen Prescriptions"--recipes for fighting off colds and flu (B has a bad cold, and I'm trying to fend it off), though we just used maple syrup since I didn't have any raspberries on hand. They were soft and tender and delicious, and totally hit the spot. I had a yummy veggie dog from Franctuary at the arcade, then headed home to enjoy our fantastic new art purchases, and make dinner. I tried another recipe from the same VT article for Soupe au Pistou. It's a hearty veggie bean soup. The pistou (kind of a French pesto) comes into the picture when you serve it. You put a couple tablespoons of the pistou in the bottom of the bowl, and then ladle the hot soup over it, so the heat releases the flavors without cooking it. It was heavenly, and just extremely lovely to boot. I paired that with some warm Yogurt Herb Bread (a quick bread recipe from Mollie Katzen's The Enchanted Broccoi Forest). E-dawg joined us for our fragrant dinner, and showed off her own arcade purchases. We made hot cocoa with fluff for dessert, and all was right with the world.

And then late last night while cleaning out my book bag (no, it is NOT a purse), I came across a recipe I'd printed from somewhere (maybe for Butterscotch Brownies (they were really blondies, not brownies, but anyway). They were super-simple, and really nice.

Sunday morning's breakfast was a grilled cheese sandwich with the Yogurt Herb bread with some cheddar and roquefort, and a couple small squares of the butterscotch bars and coffee.

For lunch, I turned to Mark Bittman's gigantic tome, and made his recipes for Braised Turnips, Spicy Autumn Burgers and Fast, Down-Home Barbeque Sauce. I put the burgers on a toasted bun, and topped them with some carmelized onions, cheddar and the bbq sauce. The turnips and a cup of yesterday's soup rounded out the plate, and were washed down with some apple cider. A cup of hot tea with a butterscotch bar made dessert.

Even though it's cold outside, I feel all toasty warm and sated, and ready to sit down with a crossword and some Iron and Wine playing softly in the background. This has been my kinda weekend.