Friday, March 19, 2010

the csa box

I've joined a CSA on a four-week trial basis - not because I doubt the quality of the produce but more that I wouldn't do it justice. Work is intense this month, and I can visualize the wilted and yellowed vegetables that could arise.

I picked up the goods on Wednesday, and just now I'm starting to delve into it. Tonight I'm caramelizing the baby turnips as a side dish to my leftover-from-lunch tuna sandwich. Tomorrow I will make a pureed carrot soup for dinner. That with some good bread and cheese and the d'anjou pears hanging out on my kitchen counter will be a happy time. I have some Portuguese kale that will also be a soup green, I think. The savoy cabbage will be slowly sauteed in butter and finished with a knob of butter. A small head of escarole will be sauteed with anchovies - this is really good. Two perfect tiny heads of baby lettuces will be a salad with goat cheese and some dried fruit, tossed with the orange infused olive oil and one of the vinegars. Baby spring onions, I will find a use for you. Leeks, you're being sliced lengthwise, caramelized, and paired with scallops. The butternut squash will be thrown into the oven; I think I saw an intriguing recipe for a butternut squash flatbread somewhere. I am ignoring the fennel for now.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

take a deep breath and go

I took a very active yoga class today, and it's safe to say that it kicked my ass. I'm used to a slow, meditative, reflective practice. I was sweating in this one. I don't like sweating. But my body knew better than to listen to my mind's feeble protests.

At first I thought that I didn't like it. Then I thought that it's presented a different facet of practice to me, that sometimes I need the energizing and the sweating and the sheer physicality of flowing from one pose to the next. This hour-long session cleared my mind. I walked at a leisurely, proud pace back to work.

I've also signed up for a hiking yoga session. Urban adventure, here I come.

Monday, March 15, 2010

no corned beef and cabbage for the likes of me.

It just occurred to me that, due to my Lenten no-meat vow, I will not be able to partake in my usual St. Patrick's Day corned beef and cabbage consumption. Booooo...but you know what, I'm booing only in theory. I don't have the desire to (gasp!) break my vow nor am I particularly craving the cb + c.

Going in, I thought that I'd have a harder time, a more resentful time, but I've been okay. It's not even highly annoying. Just an "oh well" kind of feeling. And then I'm over it.

What I'm really craving these days is a perfectly ripe avocado drizzled with toasted sesame oil and rice vinegar. Heaven.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

what we ate at Japantown today

We had a family lunch at Mifune, my old Japantown standby. O got the bullet train bento with rice and tempura. I ordered chicken kushi katsu for Z - she will never turn down any kind of deep fried chicken, and this had the bonus of being on skewers. (for the record, she ate it all, one for lunch and the leftover two for dinner) I had the tamago donburi, though I really wanted the oyako or curry, and D got the seafood soba soup. For dessert, we strolled to May's Coffee Shop and got a couple of chocolate filled taiyaki. Taiyaki, for those of you who aren't familiar with it, are essentially pancakes filled with red bean paste, chocolate, or any number of fillings. O, to my surprise, was completely disinterested in his, but Z, who has had them in the past, ate hers with great gusto. She also watched one of the women behind the counter mass produce taiyaki. We got as far as watching the batter being poured into the line of pans before Z wandered off.

We paid an obligatory visit to the Sanrio shop but didn't buy anything - recession budget, you know - and admired some of the anime and tchotchke laden window displays elsewhere.

Times like this make me happy.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

new and rather exciting Trader Joe's discoveries

Okay, maybe these have been hanging around for a while and I haven't noticed, but now that I have, they've reinvigorated my love for the TJ's.

Panang curry with vegetables and jasmine rice. This is a frozen meal, amazingly enough, and the curry is fantastic. The vegetables are just ok. I'll add some tofu next time. Tonight, I sauteed up some broccoli rabe and there was enough sauce leftover to dip. Yum.

Eggplant garlic dip. This comes in a wide-mouthed jar - a thoughtful touch for those of us who refuse to dump a portion into a small bowl the way civilized people do. Thick enough to be part of a sandwich as a condiment, perfect on its own. That, along with two whole wheat pita and some fruit, was lunch today.

And when I'm off this no-meat Lenten diet, there is a mango, red quinoa, and chicken salad calling my name.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

coming up for air

Very hectic week. All of my good intentions for fully utilizing my gym membership have been lurking at the bottom of the priority list. I'm starting to feel a bit like Bullwinkle. "This time for sure!"

Ruminations about my lack of free time aside, I have been not missed meat terribly, but there is a Chinese chicken dish - one of my comfort foods - that hangs out in my consciousness, reminding me every so often that 1) the highest quality ingredients can make a simple dish shine and 2) I really like peanut oil. Herewith, the recipe, courtesy of and tinkered with by me.

Poached Chicken with Ginger Scallion Sauce

  • 1 3 1/2-lb. chicken - get the best chicken you can find. Cut up, bone in chicken thighs or breasts work well if the chopping of the whole chicken into pieces is intimidating.
  • 6 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1/4 cup finely minced fresh ginger (you can use more or less, depends on how much you like ginger)
  • 9 scallions stalks, about a bunch, reserving 6 for the stockpot (again, you can adjust based on your preference)
  • Salt

1. Place the chicken and six whole scallion stalks in a covered stock pot filled with enough salted water to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil and simmer about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the chicken stand in the cooking liquid until just warm, about a half hour. Drain, reserving the broth for another use (though I can't imagine'll be too weak for a stock...but I'm sure you will have ideas). Discard the scallions.

If you're using thighs or breasts, simmer for 10 minutes and steep for a half hour.

2. In the meantime, mince the ginger and the white and light green parts of the remaining scallions and set aside in a ramekin or small shallow bowl.

3. Cut the chicken into chopstick-ready pieces.

4. Heat the peanut in a small saucepan or small skillet (like an 8" one if you have it, nonstick rocks for this) , and when it is hot and smoking, pour into the ramekin holding the minced scallions and ginger. Add salt to taste. Stir a bit to combine the ingredients.

5. Get your chopsticks and rice - long grain white, brown, whatever works for you. Dip chicken pieces into the sauce. Eat. Enjoy. 

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

sort of a meh day for food

though I made myself a swiss cheese, avocado and tomato croissant sandwich for lunch.

Monday, March 01, 2010

good music and good food

First, to get my excitement out of the way, a new Gorillaz album is forthcoming next Tuesday. Then there's a collaboration called Broken Bells - Danger Mouse and James Mercer of The Shins - that on first listen sounds like my next favorite, ousting One eskimO from its long tenure. Both of the long plays (oh yes I did) are available as a stream off Go check them out, do.

On food deck tonight - Trader Joe's cheese tortellini tossed with leftover diced tomatoes, Colavita extra virgin olive oil, and the rest of the mozzarella balls. Dandelion greens sauteed with garlic and chopped anchovies to round it out. Another banana muffin for dessert. The kids had a slightly different variation of last night's fruit salad. O had tortellini in tomato sauce; he is not a fan of uncooked tomatoes. It must be a texture thing. Z had one giant chicken tender from what clearly was a ginormous mutant chicken.

A quiet, solitary night ahead. I need this opportunity to recharge. But not until after the Broken Bells stream is done.