31 May 2009

Circles circles circles

I seem to eat everything lately out of a bowl. Small bowls work best; you can hold your food in one hand while chopsticking it up with the other, and so be thoroughly engaged in the act of eating.

Spicy cabbage and nut business

sesame seeds
flavorless oil
broccoli stems
sriracha sauce

First, toast some sesame seeds and cashews in a little frying pan until they're barely browning. This should take maybe five minutes; watch them so they won't burn. Tip them out of the pan and into a bowl to hang out for a bit.

Then you can wilt some finely chopped cabbage, peeled broccoli stems, and carrots with a big pinch of salt and a little oil. Other vegetables clearly work too. You can throw in a little water, clap the lid on the pan, and steam them if you want.

Add your toasted nuts and a few squirts of sriracha, mix everything together, and eat from a nice hand-sized bowl.

30 May 2009

Coast to coast to

Guess what we're doing today?

- Eating delicious brunch with Chrissy and Ben in downtown Santa Cruz
- Accidentally discovering a free bluegrass festival in the park
- Having a great time at Heather and Tony's wedding!


You should definitely have some sparkling mineral water and raspberries in a champagne bowl to celebrate.

25 May 2009

It's summertime

I always get the Flaming Lips song stuck in my head when I say that.

It is definitely summertime, though. Yesterday we went and had a clearly summer-oriented picnic in Central Park, complete with babies and frisbees and cupcakes (vegan and non) and accidental proximity to impressive drum ensembles, which inspired a variety of silly dancing. Plus, when we got there, all the babies (the ambulatory, solid-food-consuming babies, anyway) dug instantly into our hummus with grape tomatoes and carrots, totally ignoring the cupcakes. Well, the cupcakes weren't up for grabs yet, but still. It was pretty sweet.

You can also tell it's summer when you walk down the street, past the little neighborhood grocery stores and fruit carts, and realize that a box of raspberries suddenly costs $2 and you can get 6 tiny, perfect apricots for $1.

You'll notice there are only two apricots left in the fruit bowl, the carrots and tomatoes have totally vanished, the raspberries are nowhere to be found.

23 May 2009


First, I totally made the rhubarb fail into rhubarb win by letting the sorbet thaw, then mixing it with cranberry juice, some water, and several good squeezes of lemon. Later I made another with grapefruit juice instead of cranberry, and that worked out even better. Rhubarb tonic! It was pretty awesome.

I should probably see if there's some more at the farmer's market, so in future I can experiment with rhubarb/orange or rhubarb/lemon concentrates. (I'm not using the precious first real strawberries on this; sorry. Maybe if we were still in CA.) Then I can add not plain but sparkling water, to make it rhubarb soda! Yes!

In other news, I'm sick. This has somehow made it Ultimate Takeout Week. If you are wondering, Thai tom yum shrimp soup is excellent for clearing one's head, even if said soup comes with a couple surprising entirely intact shrimp, complete with legs and eyes. That was kind of a shock. On the other hand, intact shrimp certainly make a better broth. So, ok. I separated the meat, chucked the heads, and inhaled the entire container.

Then there was lots of leftover cashew tofu for lunch, and palak paneer for dinner.

Mostly I was just drinking lots of tea, though. I used to sometimes make myself a hot toddy when I had a cold, so as to expectorate, soothe my throat, ingest a lot of vitamin c, and knock myself out all at once. But obviously a drink full of whiskey is not the best idea. Instead: green tea with honey and lemon.

I had at least three of these before I got in bed for the night.

19 May 2009

Rhubarb fail

Look, rhubarb.

I had a plan for this rhubarb. I was all "I know! I will use the first and potentially only glorious rhubarb of the season in making an exciting rhubarb sorbet!"

So I did it.

I made simple syrup by dissolving sugar in boiling water. Then I cut the rhubarb into bits, threw them into the syrup, and simmered it until the rhubarb broke down. I used about a cup of water, maybe 1/3 cup of sugar, and seven or eight stalks of rhubarb, so after the rhubarb had broken down, the mixture was pretty thin. I simmered it down a little more, maybe 25 minutes total, to evaporate off some liquid and make the flavor more concentrated.

Then I put the business through a wire strainer to get out all the fibrous bits. This required whipping all the wet pulp while in the sieve, so as to extract as much liquid as possible through centripetal force. Science!

When that was done, I threw out the pulp and put my bowl of vibrant pink rhubarb liquor in the refrigerator overnight. Note: liquids need to be COLD before you try to freeze them in an ice cream machine. I actually think we waited two nights.

Then I threw everything in the machine, hit the switch, and waited until it was done.

The resulting sorbet was very pretty. Pink! I mean, it was pretty if you like pink things. Pink: a color with too much baggage.


Unfortunately, when we actually tried the sorbet, neither of us liked it. I put it in the freezer to be all pink and baleful at us.


EILEEN and JOHN are at their computers in the nerd cave. They each take a contemplative bite of sorbet.


EILEEN: Do you hate it?

JOHN: I hate it!

EILEEN: I knew it!

PAUSE. EILEEN slowly takes another bite.

JOHN: But what do you think of it?


EILEEN: I think there's a reason rhubarb is usually cooked with something else.

JOHN: That's the most diplomatic way you could possibly phrase that!


15 May 2009

Glorious springtime

The farmer's market is pretty awesome lately. Look, lilacs! Never mind that they totally didn't last more than two days; they made the house smell great.

Look! Cultured farmer's cheese! I guess I'd better mix it with some minced pea shoots and pepper and a little milk to make it spready.

Look! Pea shoots! I picked them out of a big bag of mixed greens, which otherwise was full of tatsoi and mustard and all kinds of other tasty bits. Pea shoots are definitely worth finding, even if you find them by sprouting them yourself on the windowsill. That's a really good idea, actually. Fresh pea business!

Once I had the cheese all spready and herbified--pea shoots being so green and serious that they feel super herbal--I stuck it in the refrigerator to let everything meld a little. Then I steamed some green beans to eat with it. Voila: herby cheese dip with beans for dinner.

This worked well both as a straight up dip and as fodder for openfaced sandwiches on tasty sourdough. Man, I have to get more of that sourdough tomorrow.

12 May 2009

So tired

Lots of stuff on bread has been happening.

Exciting sandwich including massive amounts of avocado, cultured farmer's cheese, grape tomatoes, salt and pepper, and a bunch of tiny greens from the farmer's market.

Green bean sandwich for breakfast. Soften garlic in olive oil, add trimmed beans, cook 3-4 minutes, put on toast. This was awesome. I love horrifying people at work with stories of food like this.

Sourdough, grape tomatoes, mozzarella, basil off the basil plants on the windowsill. Put it in the toaster oven and grind some pepper over it.

This week I am working nine hour days. My body is going to rebel. Send sandwiches.

06 May 2009


Make a grilled cheese sandwich on sourdough with cheddar cheese and brown mustard. I cook mine in the toaster oven, so I can use the little frying pan to soften some garlic in olive oil. While it's softening, wash and chop some green beans. Throw them into the pan, stir to get the garlic and oil distributed, and let cook for a minute or so. Then add a splash of water (which you should be boiling for tea), clap on the lid, and wait three minutes. When the toaster dings, take out your sandwich, put it on a plate, and cut it in half. Take the lid off the beans, grind some salt and pepper over them, and put them on the plate with the sandwich. Eat it all. Drink tea.

04 May 2009

Stepping away from the eggs

VEGETABLES! I ate them!

Couscous, green beans, and red pepper

whole wheat couscous (or whatever)
olive oil
green beans
red pepper
salt, pepper

Couscous is super easy to make; I've definitely made it from the hot water tap of my work water cooler. For each person, put maybe 3/4 cup dry cous in a bowl. Throw some water in the teakettle and heat it up; when it comes to a boil, turn off the heat. Let it cool for a minute so you won't crack your bowls with boiling water. Drizzle a little olive oil over each bowl of dry cous, then add water to cover by about a centimeter. Cover the bowls with a clean tea towel and let them sit and steam while you cook your veg. It should take about five minutes for the cous to absorb/steam in the hot water. If it's still a little dry, add a touch more water and cover again. Salt, pepper, fluff with a fork.

While the cous is cooking, peel and slice a clove or two of garlic. You could use shallot or red onion here, too; we're not picky. Soften the garlic in some olive oil over medium heat. While it's cooking, wash a big handful of green beans and chop them into inch-long pieces. Throw them into the garlic and oil, mix it up, and let cook while you dice up a red pepper. Add it to the pan as well.

Now turn the heat to medium-high, add a splash of water from the teapot, and cover. Let everything steam in the pan for maybe three minutes, or until the green beans are done to your taste. Salt and pepper.

Add the vegetables to your bowls of cous, mix them up, and eat.

It didn't look like we'd made that much food, but couscous is filling! I couldn't get through more than half my bowl. In conclusion, my lunch was then awesome.

02 May 2009

Why to buy organic strawberries

Looks so beautiful; tastes so much like pesticide.

I mean, I suppose I'm glad my palate is sensitive enough to taste pesticide, but it's hard to chuck an entire box of strawberries.

Incidentally, here's the list of the dirty dozen: the fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residue, on a scale of 100 (bad) to 1 (good), as shown by a study of the Environmental Working Group. Strawberries are #6, with a ranking of 80; they carry a lot of pesticide residue. Boo! It's clearly time to start buying only organic strawberries, or, even better, to start growing them ourselves. Fire escape garden for the win!