31 August 2010


So this is what happens when you don't transplant the zucchini into a much bigger container: all your zucchini turn out the size of your little finger. So sad, but so delicious nonetheless. I ate this one raw.

The cherry tomatoes, on the other hand, are doing splendidly. There's a good handful sitting on the edge of my kitchen counter right now, waiting for me to make an executive decision about when, where, and how to eat them. I was considering making these oven-dried sungolds in olive oil, which look like perhaps the most exciting tomatoes in the land...but I keep eating mine, picking them off one by one, such that we certainly don't have enough to fill up a fill baking pan or (by the transitive property!) a quart jar. I may go ahead and dry what I have anyway. Come on, self! It only requires self-control and olive oil!

27 August 2010

Invalid food: soba in broth

So John was sick, and now I am not feeling so great either. Clearly it is time for an abundance of invalid food.

Soba in broth

veg broth (water; vegetables)
soy sauce
rice wine vinegar
mirin (if you have any)
sriracha or other hot chili sauce
soba noodles
green onion
maybe some cilantro, mint, or lemon/lime peel

First, make the broth. I was fortunate enough to have frozen some broth previously, so I just used that. However, making vegetable broth is easy enough even when you don't want to stand up. Just fill a pot with vegetable scraps, cover with water, and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Good vegetables to use: onion, carrot, celery, mushroom, potato, garlic, non-cabbage greens. Use the peels and roots along with everything else--just make sure you wash them first. After the time is up, strain your broth, pressing the veg with the back of a spoon to make sure you get all the flavor out. That is it. You now have a hot pan of exciting, effortless homemade veg broth.

Now is the time to cook your soba noodles. Boil a pot of water, add soba, and cook until done to your taste.

While the noodles are cooking, season your broth sparingly with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, mirin, and sriracha sauce. Be especially careful with the soy sauce and vinegar, as one is super salty and the other is super pungent. Taste and tweak seasonings until you're happy. Keep warm on a low burner until your noodles are cooked.

Drain the noodles, throw them into your hot spicy broth, add a handful of sliced green onion, and eat it.

John had his massive bowl of soup and soba with some steamed broccoli. I just threw a bunch of florets into the leftover simmering soba water, put on the lid, and let cook for maybe three or four minutes. Voila: lovely broccoli.

We also had sliced nectarine, which you know how to make. 1. Get nectarine. 2. Slice. 3. Eat.

When you're all done with your invalid food, lie pitifully in bed reading books and watching videos on your laptop until you feel better.

18 August 2010

So what all was in these tacos?

- Eggs, scrambled with
- red onion
- baby zucchini
- grape tomatoes
- chard leaves
- and I slapped them all on some flame-cooked corn tortillas.

17 August 2010

Summer still = fruit

Hey, it's a blackberry banana smoothie.

a handful of blackberries
a handful of frozen banana pieces
a couple of ice cubes
a splash of water so it will actually blend

Put in blender. Blend. Eat/drink.

I find the blackberry business a bit harder to take than other fruity blended concoctions. I don't own any straws, so I end up sort of half-chewing my way through...seeds. Lots of seeds. I think that for further blackberry smoothies I will have to employ a strainer.

Also, have I mentioned that I hate the word "smoothie"? Ugh.

I have to figure out what to eat for lunch now. No ideas so far. This probably indicates a default Middle Eastern platter of some kind.

16 August 2010

I made some pasta

Wow, what happened? I was doing so well at posting, and then I ran out of preedited pictures, hit a wall, and just sort of stayed there for a while.

Yeah, so. Pasta! It is great. I have definitely been eating some pasta. The basil rioting out on the balcony helps. So does the bargain bin at the farmer's market.

Pasta with zucchini, peppers, basil, etc.

olive oil
a shallot/other
a big handful of those sweet-hot yellow peppers
another big handful of baby zucchini
a stack of basil leaves
other fresh herbs such as parsley
salt, pepper
grating cheese if you want it

You know how to cook pasta. Put it on first so it'll be ready at approximately the same time as the vegetables.

Chop up a shallot and wilt it in olive oil. You can of course use garlic, red onion, etc etc. Everything will be delicious.

Chop up your other vegetables; I chose mine based completely on the bargain bin. I had peppers (which were wilty and needed to be used up) and baby zucchini (which were in excellent shape; were they just not selling or what?). So I diced the peppers and cut the zucchini into half-moons. If you have other delicious summer veg lying around, feel free to use them as well.

Throw the peppers into the pan, salt, and let wilt for a few minutes. Add the zucchini and cook until softened and delicious. Take the pan off the heat, correct the salt, add some pepper and chopped herbs, and toss with the drained pasta.

Put it on a plate and eat it. Or, you know, eat it out of the pan; whatev. If you want to be be ultra-fancy you can chiffonade some more basil and strew it artfully over your serving. If you want to be filled with the goodness of dairy you can grate some appropriate cheese over the entire business. If you want to be very full you can eat the whole pan yourself and retire gracefully to your bed.

09 August 2010

Egg salad superlative

For once I actually had every single ingredient for the perfect egg salad. We ate it.

Egg salad superlative

good eggs from farmer's market or equivalent
Persian cucumber
red radishes
green onions
big bunch of fresh dill: baby, not pickling
good mayonnaise
dijon mustard
sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Hard boil eggs. Everyone has their own method for hard boiling perfect eggs; mine is to boil them (right out of the fridge) for nine minutes, then immediately immerse in ice water. Leave them there for ten minutes while you chop things.

So. Slice cucumber and radish into thin half-moons or quarters; slice onions into rounds; strip lots of fresh dill off the stem and chop roughly. Proportions here depend on what you like. I like lots of everything, but I find dill and radish the most important. Throw the resulting mixture into a mixing bowl.

To peel the eggs, whack them all over with the back of a spoon, then begin peeling at the wide end. This usually lets you get under the membrane quickly and easily. If you have issues, try peeling under running water, or immersed in a small bowl. Perfectly boiled eggs should have a little dark damp bit at the center of the yolk.

Chop the eggs roughly, then add them to the vegetables. Add a largish spoonful of mayo, a smaller spoonful of mustard, a little salt and plenty of pepper. Now mash everything together with a fork, adding a little more mayo if it's too dry. Make sure to get all the yolks fully mashed into the mustard/mayo business for ultimate salad concoction. Taste it, correct any necessary seasonings, and eat.

We like egg salad on rye toast, on sourdough, or on slices of cucumber. Of course, it's also excellent straight from the bowl. Ok then.

08 August 2010


Benefits of huge salad:

- huge
- delicious
- made of exciting fresh, local, and largely organic ingredients
- after you eat it, you feel great


cucumber (Persian or English)
good tomato
fresh mozzarella
fresh cracked pepper
good salt
good vinaigrette

It's a salad! You can tell what to do by looking at the picture!

Wash spinach, dry, and arrange nicely on a plate. We actually have a salad spinner now and thus do not have to dry our greens by putting them in a dishtowel and whipping them around in a circle! Nice! Also helpful if you happen not to have a convenient back door out of which to do such a thing. Anyway. Slice yourself some cucumber, tomato, and fresh exciting mozzarella. Dot some dressing over the spinach. Arrange the cucumber, tomato, and mozzarella nicely over it. Add some more dressing, copious pepper, and minimal salt.

Now it is done and you can eat the whole thing, preferably with a bottle of cold white wine and a couple pieces of sourdough.


07 August 2010

Three weeks at the farmer's market

Sunday, July 18th:

- bag of button mushrooms
- sourdough bread
- massive bag of grape tomatoes
- green leaf lettuce
- three nectarines
- a gold bar squash
- a zucchini
- two jalapeños
- additional hot peppers of unknown origin
- broccoli
- two heads garlic
- two yellow onions, one red
- pint of strawberries
- bunch of green onions
- bag of green beans
- half a dozen brown eggs
- two early green peppers
- two Asian eggplants
- a bunch of radishes
- and a huge 50-piece bag of vegetarian dumplings.

Sunday, July 25th:

- three pints of strawberries for $5
- a smaller but still good-sized bag of grape tomatoes
- a bag of yukon old potatoes
- red chard
- more broccoli
- another bunch of green onions
- a cauliflower
- two yellow onions
- four mixed bell peppers
- a tiny cantaloupe
- another zucchini
- two more jalapeños
- five nectarines (yellow and white)
- and a pint of bing cherry juice, which, though it cannot take the place of our beloved tart cherry stomp, is also awesome.

Sunday, August 1st:

- yet another bag of grape tomatoes
- and another two yellow onions
- and another two bell peppers
- and another bunch of green onions
- three pints of blackberries for $3
- half a dozen brown eggs
- six more nectarines
- a couple hot peppers
- a bunch of parsley
- an Asian eggplant
- a single, lonesome carrot
- and a big bag of yellow sweet-hot peppers and baby zucchini from the seconds table at 60 cents a pound.


- Notice how my haul decreases in size from week to week. In practical terms, this means both that I'm getting better at managing the extremely exciting menu of available food every week and that our stockpile of staples is growing and stabilizing.
- I apparently really like eating the same thing over and over. I've eaten so many bags of those grape tomatoes. We already have a very productive cherry tomato plant--but still. I clearly need to get a grape tomato plant in addition next year. Also: nectarines. If I could grow a fruiting nectarine tree in a big pot on our balcony, I would be so happy.
- My pricing and bargain-hunting abilities are also getting substantially better as I get to know this market. In Brooklyn, I couldn't go too late to the market, since there would be no bread; here, I can show up at 12:45, fifteen minutes before closing, and there will still be abundant selection--and yet everyone has suddenly dropped their prices and started giving out freebies. For instance, those heirloom tomatoes up at the top? I got to the booth just as the kid working switched their price to $1 a pound. And what were those baby zucchini doing in the seconds bin? That is insane!
- In conclusion, I really like the farmer's market.

06 August 2010

Projected dinner: potato and green bean salad

Man, Kim wants me to make her dinner, but I'm in CA and she's in Texas and it is just an insurmountable barrier, especially within the next several hours. So instead I will throw out some pictures and words in regard to a dinner of note. HOORAY.

Ok, I don't know if many people besides me would actually characterize this as "dinner," but whatev. This is exactly what I characterize as "dinner" on a fairly frequent basis.

It is potato and green bean salad!

good potatoes
good green beans
black pepper, salt
vinaigrette with a bunch of dijon mustard in it

First, put on a pot of water to boil. While it's warming up, thoroughly scrub and de-eye as many potatoes as you want to eat. I had the end of a bag of mixed red and yukon gold baby potatoes from the farmer's market, shockingly enough; I used about five or six. Potatoes! I like eating the peels, but you can peel yours if you so desire.

Anyway. Dice your potatoes into nice half-inch cubes. When the water comes to a boil, throw the potatoes into the pot. Give it a minute to come back to the boil, reduce heat, cover, and let cook for about 20 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking, top, tail, and chop up a big handful of green beans; I made mine about an inch long. Then, when the potatoes are almost done, throw the beans into the pot with them. Let cook another two or three minutes, or until both beans and potatoes are done to your satisfaction, then drain.

Toss the beans and potatoes with good vinaigrette, a little salt, and lots of good cracked pepper as instantly as possible; hot vegetables (and, uh, all hot food) will absorb seasoning much more easily than tepid or cold. If you want, you can add some actual dijon mustard to the mix, or a couple spoonfuls of good thick real yogurt, or even sour cream. It's all good, though you might want to give things a minute to cool down before you add any dairy.

Now eat it! It is totally a viable dinner.

05 August 2010

Summer = fruit

Apparently I don't just want to eat fruit this summer. It all has to be the same color as well.

Champagne mango: cut two thick slices off the pit, score a crosshatch into each, and flip them inside out. Make sure to cut all the bits and pieces off the pit as well. Eat it.

Nectarine: get it half smashed in your bag on the way home from the farmer's market. Cut it off the pit over the sink. Eat it.

Cantaloupe: after you've finished making one half into a smoothie (with other fruit! Or else it will totally all turn to undrinkable foam!), scoop the seeds out of the other half and slice it as finely as you possibly can. Eat it.

04 August 2010

Happy overturned proposition 8 day!

Now go have some champagne:

Of course, this picture's actually from last new year's eve, as you might have noticed due to the unrelenting darkness, but you know, I'm fine with that. We got that bottle of champagne for our wedding; it seemed like a good time to pull it out again.

03 August 2010

At the pico, pico de gallo

Once I actually found pinto beans, which for some reason are practically the only bean not stocked in the Milk Pail bulk bins, I made a huge batch of refrieds and we reverted back to our previous taco-eating activities. I am eating tacos every day and they are continually awesome. The whole "living in NYC where very little good Mexican food is available" business seems to have taught me very well.

Combine that with the massive farmer's market and everything is great. The other day, for instance, I brought home (among other things) a big yellow tomato, a red onion, and a handful of jalapeños. So I diced up the tomato, peeled and minced a chunk of onion, and minced a jalapeño, threw everything together, added a pinch of salt, stirred it up and voila: pico de gallo.

Then it was clearly time for additional tacos. Corn tortillas singed over the gas flame, hot refrieds, pico, and hot sauce at the table. I ate them and they were great.

Now, of course, I have Copacabana irreversibly stuck in my head. WONDERFUL. Link not provided, as I am now personally scarred due to just finding and listening to such. AUGH.

02 August 2010

Hey, let's check out the garden

Did you know we had a garden this year? We do! I have plants! Growing! On the balcony! In pots that are really too small, except for the tomato pot!

Check it out: zucchini. This is the plant that needs to be repotted the most, by far. I either have to get a bigger pot or commandeer a cardboard box, line it with a trash bag or something in that area, and use that. I guess I do have a big rubbermaid bin in my closet, but it's currently sort of full of non-plant items.

The plant in the corner is chard, which also needs a new pot but nowhere near as desperately. There's a substantial basil section hiding back there as well.

Most of my radishes didn't sprout, since I planted them really late due to that whole moving across the country business. This one worked out pretty well, though. Purple radishes with excellent sauteéeable greens! GIGANTOR IS GIGANTIC.

Finally, tomatoes! The cherry tomato plant has been the biggest success so far. It just about exploded when I repotted it, and is currently rioting all over a corner of the (large) balcony. There are lots of green tomatoes, but this has been the only one to ripen so far. Orange is the correct color for ripeness, since these are sungolds. In conclusion, I picked it and ate it and everything was great.

01 August 2010

Fruit smoothie

It is August. Every weekend I bring home huge armfuls of very exciting peak-season fruit and vegetables. Three baskets of organic strawberries for $5. Bags of mix and match nectarines and plums for a dollar a pound. Tiny, heavy, stripy French cantaloupes.

There's kind of a lot of fruit in the refrigerator, so I did something out of character. I scooped the flesh out of half a melon, then hulled and halved six or eight strawberries. They went into the blender. So did a couple of ice cubes.

Thirty seconds later, I was pouring myself an entire pint glass of strawberry-cantaloupe smoothie. I ate it for lunch. It was great.

I don't recall ever making a smoothie before. My normal idea of lunch is leftover vegetable-bean melange over a grain, warmed up in the toaster oven with a splash of water to resteam. Otherwise, I usually make tacos or a sandwich. Those three options by far dominate; they're fast, easy, and substantial. The smoothie is definitely fast and easy, but substantial?

For most of July I plain didn't have any appetite, and it wasn't even that hot here. Our theory is that I've reacting against the recent unfortunate frequency of restaurant food. Grease and salt and heavy-textured sauces, either cream or cornstarch: gross. My palate couldn't take it anymore.

I could take the smoothie, though. I made another one a few days later, with the same ingredients plus some chopped chard. It was similarly great. Today when I went to the farmer's market I brought home three pints of blackberries for $3. I have three overripe bananas cut up and stored neatly in the freezer. We still have strawberries and cantaloupe. I'm clearly going to be eating (drinking?) more of these.