28 June 2010

Freezer tomato

So here's what happens when you are me at the farmer's market this weekend: you buy all the tomatoes. I didn't get the heirloom tomatoes, and I don't even care. I lugged home what must have been eight or ten pounds of tomatoes, dumped them out on the table, and gloated.

Ten minutes later, they looked like this. Fifteen minutes later, the whole tray was in the freezer. A day and a half later, they're all perfect and frozen and ready for winter, or at least for the tepid mist that passes for winter in CA.


25 June 2010

Beets beets I continue to like beets

So farmer's market mark II gave me an even larger plethora of food, including a big bunch of yellow beets. I love beets. Beets are my friends. Also, yellow beets taste just as great as red ones, yet do not threaten to turn the entire kitchen red. BEETS!!

Ahem. Yes. So I washed and scrubbed four beets, pricked them all over with a fork, rubbed them with a little olive oil, sealed them up in a tinfoil packet, and threw them into a 350F oven. After about a half hour, I realized they were dripping hot juice onto the oven floor and rushed to throw a cookie sheet underneath. Mental note: just put the packet on a cookie sheet in the first place next time.

After about 45 minutes, my beets were tender and delicious. I took them out of the oven and opened the packet to let them cool down a bit. Then it was time to skin them. To skin cooked beets, just squeeze them. The skins (and even the stems) come off really easily. At this point my beets looked like so:

Right! I just had to figure out what to do with them.

Ok, well, beets love to be pickled, but I was definitely not up for waiting around at that time. Of course, I do have to find a quick refrigerator pickle recipe for the rest of the bunch of beets, and possibly for all the rest of the beets I buy over the entire summer. Anyway. I had green beans in the veg drawer, so I decided to chop them up, steam them for a couple minutes, and make a salad.

Voila: beans, beets, salt, and pepper.

So I could have eaten this with some variation on vinaigrette dressing. Normal vinaigrette would be good; very mustardy dijon vinaigrette would be good. In fact, that would have been pretty great; the idea is making me hungry right now. Well, I was hungry anyway, since it is currently 7 pm on Friday night and I haven't eaten anything since lunch. Beet and green bean with vinaigrette would still be exceptionally good.

However, since I was looking for a full lunch, I wanted my beets and green beans with labneh. This is just yogurt cheese: plain yogurt with the whey drained out. If you've had thick Greek yogurt, you've had something rapidly approaching labneh. Usually I make my own, using a very fine nylon mesh strainer; this time, however, I had recently discovered the Lebanese market up the street from our apartment, and therein also discovered not just excellent pita and kabobs but also massive one-pound containers of labneh. Yes. I whacked a spoonful of labneh over my salad, made a huge mess mixing it up, and ate it all.

24 June 2010

It's summer and drinks are delicious

Yeah, so you know why else the farmer's market is great? Because now, on the spur of the moment, you can cut up an apricot and a plum, throw them in a glass, douse them in sauvignon blanc, and sit down to enjoy your LIFE.

I, of course, later ended up spilling half this drink over every article of clothing I was wearing as well as the edge of my desk, but that's beside the point.

You know what else you can have, although it has little to nothing to do with the farmer's market? A pink gin. These are some extremely pink gins, since we heart bitters; the ordinary pink gin is just barely tinged with peachy pink, much like the color I picture for vintage 1920s undergarments. In either case, a pink gin is a serious and strong martini, best consumed by servants of the British empire or connoisseurs of gin.

A pink gin

good gin (Boodle's in our case)
angostura bitters
an ice cube
a twist of lemon
a martini glass or champagne coupe

Shake a few drops of bitters into your glass. For the traditional pink gin, swirl the drops around to coat the glass, then pour out any excess. For our excessively pink gins, we used a substantial few shakes of bitters and didn't bother to pour them out. So. Add an ice cube and pour to fill about 2/3 full with gin. Gently stir, then add the lemon twist. Drink carefully.

19 June 2010


So this weekend I got up and went over to the Mountain View farmer's market.

First of all, holy crap. This thing was bigger than Union Square. I have never, ever seen a farmer's market so big, and smack in the middle of the suburban Silicon Valley flood plain besides. The apricots were all the size of baseballs. There was a ten-person line for bread, and not in the newspapery bread-riot way, either. I couldn't even handle doing a full walkthrough before I started buying things.

I've never been up to the ferry building market, but now I'm a little terrified to go. What mass of humanity and vegetables must be there when there was already so much here?

I spent about $22. Here's what I got:

- four early girl tomatoes
- two medium heirloom tomatoes, possibly black cherokee
- a sungold cherry tomato plant (now repotted and sunbathing on our balcony)
- a pint of strawberries
- a pint of blueberries
- two pluots
- two white nectarines
- three "apriplums," which are apparently a strong apricot/weak plum cross
- three small red torpedo onions
- a bag of green beans
- a bunch of striped-stem chard
- a sourdough baguette
- a handful of tiny padron peppers

So far I have eaten much fruit, had an excellent breakfast of baguette slices toasted with my friend Joann's tapenade, diced salami, and slivers of swiss cheese, blanched green beans and dipped them in baba ghanouj, and produced large quantities of refried black beans with padron peppers.

14 June 2010

Self-portrait with teakettle

First actual cooking in the new apartment! Yeah!

We certainly haven't yet rebuilt a full pantry--not that the half cabinet we used in Brooklyn was exactly a pantry, but whatever--so right now our food at home is really simple. This was the most complicated thing I've made in two weeks, and it wasn't exactly rocket surgery. I did get to use our exciting new gas-stove-in-earthquake-country, though! Score!

Pile of veg on toast with nouveau string cheese

olive oil
hot red pepper
yellow tomato
cremini mushrooms
red bell pepper
salt, pepper, oregano
fresh parsley
piece of decent bread
optional string cheese

Essentially, the process went like this.

1. Get hungry.
2. Realize that while no protein whatever is in the house, there are plenty of vegetables.
3. Cut up lots of vegetables and sauté them in olive oil.
4. Toast bread.
5. Put vegetables on bread. Decide that this will not be enough, due to previously mentioned lack of protein.
6. Get out piece of string cheese, say "you'll do," and arrange it nicely around the toast and veg.

06 June 2010

Hello, CA

So we actually got to CA at the very end of May. After a week of running around, we not only have an exciting new apartment but also have managed to unpack nearly half of our stuff. Good times. Very tired. Haven't found the knife block yet.

Things our movers lovingly wrapped to transport across the country for us:

- 1/3 bag of egg noodles
- three separate bottles of vinegar, all previously opened
- one of the shelves from our previous kitchen's cabinets
- a tupperware container full of change

Practically the first thing we did when we got to town was run to the Milk Pail. Oh good cheap accessible produce, I've missed you so. I assume when it gets to be winter and yet the winter veg are not particularly crispy and frosty I'll probably have something to say about that, but for now, the summer fruit and veg are clearly extremely exciting. Witness the first food I made in CA:

That, fine people, is one yellow tomato and one avocado, sliced nicely, arranged on whole grain sourdough, and covered with cracked pepper. Breakfast in California = awesome.

So our apartment not only has a gas stove--quite difficult to find in earthquake territory--but is also within walking distance of downtown. SWEET. We get easy access to a freaking minefield of restaurants, Asian markets, coffeeshops, the farmer's market, AND the library. WE WIN. Hello, California! I feel much better about you already!

05 June 2010

Goodbye, NY

Last dinner in Brooklyn: pasta fagioli with white bean/red pepper/tomato sauce, wilted mushrooms, and parsley from the plants we couldn't move. Salt, pepper, plenty of exhaustion. Sleep.