Archive for May, 2011

Kewpie dolls, my order of kitchen linens from House 8810 just came in!  And they are fab. yoo. lous.

"You're the Cream in My Coffee" Yes, new towel. Yes, you are.

Put the cream in your coffee right here.

"Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy" Butterfat, bacon...I'm not picky, really.

Grease that skillet o’ yours by doing the clicky-click here.

And perhaps my favorite, "I Love You Like Biscuits And Gravy." Aww, I love you, too, badass new kitchen towel.

Love yourself like Biscuits and Gravy by adding this to your cart.

Get it?! It looks like a picnic blanket?! And there's, there's, there's picnic ants crawling on it?! Yeah.

Throw your own picnic with these napkins.

Check out the red stitching detail on the borders (actual stitches). Love the bite taken out of each 'nana.

Be a bananimal in the kitchen with these.

And this is the cyoooot cloth "envelope" that my receipt came in. Already trying to find some cool purpose for it...

So I treated myself.  The Boy and I are on a never-ending quest to use little to no paper toweling or paper napkins, and occasionally that requires expanding our linen collection via an extremely stylin’, totally boss shopping spree.  What?

Happy weekend, bananimals!

Read Full Post »

"Sommer," by Leopold Karl Walter Graf von Kalckreuth

Let’s call it what it is, shall we?  Foodlust.

Nah, I’m not about to get all porny on you (though I sometimes, maybe sorta, okay fine pretty often like to do that with you.  It’s just who I am these days.)

What I would like to do is show you how I shop and eat, in the spirit of the food voyeurism about which I’m so public and, let’s face it, totally unashamed.  I’d also like to show you how you, YES YOU, can use all the produce in your CSA or farmshare box without going crazy or throwing anything out.

Really.  We don’t like to throw food out.  You probably don’t, either.  If I can’t find a use for something, I like to pickle or ferment it to extend its life and nutritional value.  And when something does go bad (like when our refrigerator stopped working and spoiled so much food I cried and told The Boy I couldn’t go on), we try to compost it.  It’s part of being a sparkly earth hippie person.

For a sparkly earth hippie person, I sure do run through a lot of do-me-red lipstick.

In any case, I’m going to show you what comes in our deliveries and how we use it.  This is something I typically know about a week ahead of time, as our wonderful CSA tells us what’s coming in advance.  Then I sit down and plan a menu around it.  The whole process, from clicking open my CSA’s site to closing my recipe windows and shutting down the text document that holds my menu, takes me half an hour.  It helps that I keep all the recipes that I want to try in the immediate future in a queue and ready to go.

This level of organization is pretty much the key, sugar babies.  Get there and you will be a produce samurai/money-saving, organic food eating, weight-losing, new recipe-trying, local and seasonal-eating, only once-weekly shopping, pogo-sticking (wait.  Not sure how that got in there.  I can’t pogo stick…can you?  ‘Cause that could totally make this list, it’s just not a requirement or anything) ass-kicking force to be reckoned with.

So onto the show:

Some stuff we’re getting: Blueberries, Honeydew Melon and Navel Oranges, plus LOCAL Eggs, bunched Green Garlic and Asparagus, and from outside the region, Broccoli, Celery, Cherry Tomatoes and Red Beets.

Some stuff we’re harvesting: Red and Green Leaf Lettuce from the garden, and some slammin’ Bok Choy.  And when I say slammin’, I mean slammin’.  Step off, bok choy haters!

Some stuff I’m making:

Fruit: eaten for breakfast each morning, plopped into The Boy’s lunches (yes, he packs lunches…and they’re almost always leftovers from the night before)
Eggs: some hard-boiled for breakfasts and snacks

Lake Superior Whitefish with Roasted Green Garlic
Buttered, Sauteed Asparagus and Peas
Orange Segments and Blueberries
Whites, Light Greens, Dark Greens, Vivid Oranges, Deep Blues

Spicy Sesame Bok Choy and Celery Stir Fry with Poached Eggs (ferment remaining celery with the carrots sitting in the fridge)
Brown Jasmine Rice
Strawberries I’ll have on hand
Beige-y Browns, Light Greens, Whites, Orangey-Yellows, Bright Reds…

Homemade Italian Sausage Lasagna (locally made, nitrate-free sausage from happy pigs)
Red and Green Leaf Lettuce Salad with Blueberries and Orange Segments
Reds, Greens, Beige-y Browns, Vivid Oranges, and Purply-Blues…

Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Salad with Cooked Beets (save cooking water for making beet wine)
Homemade Crusty Bread
Oranges, Light and Dark Greens, Bright Reds, Beige-y Browns…

Use Cherry Tomatoes in a Caprese Pasta Salad I’m bringing to my book club’s potluck, then GET REALLY DRUNK WITH A LOT OF BOOK NERDS

Leftover night

Date night

This dessert for us and to share with people at The Boy’s workplace

You’ll notice that I build leftover nights, eating out, and socialization into the calendar. This keeps us from wasting anything or having to run to the store last minute.  You’ll also notice that after each night, I’ve listed the color families present. This makes sure everything looks interesting and, let’s face it, is the easiest way to know we’re getting balanced nutrition.  ‘Cause imbalanced nutrition is, like, not sexy.  Plus, what girl doesn’t wanna play with rainbows?

And, uh, yes, I do plan a homemade dessert every single week (and sometimes more than one), whydoyouaskareyoujudgingme?

Do we deviate from the menu?  OF COURSE.  Occasionally what we get in the box is a little different, or I harvest something unexpected.  Sometimes I just have no desire to eat what I’d planned on making.  In that case, fine–I’ll reconfigure some things.  But if I don’t feel like thinking it through, the plan is there for me rely on and makes it easy to know what to defrost, bake, pre-prep, etc.

So what are you making for dinner this week?  What do you think of the meals I’ve planned, and what would you do with these ingredients if it were you?

Read Full Post »

Oh, baby, oh.

Salty Sweet Candied Peanuts, oy vey, I can hardly stand it! Mine came out hard and crunchy.  Perfect for eating in the sunshine with a cold lemonade or a crisp beer.

Or, you know.  In a root cellar.  Under a rock.  On the moon.  With a spoon.  Real, real soon.

Here’s the recipe, darlings, from the lovely Jeannette at Everybody Likes Sandwiches.

What’s cooling on your kitchen table?  Is it something homey, along the lines of this ruby gem I made a while back?  Or perhaps it’s nut-studded like these pecan sandies?

Read Full Post »

Winsor McCay sketching Gertie the Dinosaur at a dinner party...because everyone knows that dinnertime discussions of organic food must be accompanied by sketches of free-range dinosaurs. Duh.

Yeah, that’s right.  An arse.

An eager acquaintance who shares my interest in natural foods asked me the other day, “What do you do when you’re eating at a friend’s house?  Do you ask where the meat and vegetables came from?”

Honestly, the notion of doing so absolutely smacked me in the brain and levered my jaw wide open, that’s how appalling I found it.  Ask my host?  When I’m a guest in his or her house?  If the meat was pastured?  If the produce has pesticides on it?

The short answer is “no.”  The long answer is “Hell no.”

And I don’t spend even a moment worrying about that meal’s “larger impact,” either.  I do the best I can with my food at home.  I do the best I can with what I eat when dining out.  But in no way do I let my dedication to eating a whole, natural diet impose upon my respect for my friends.  Many of them do not eat the way I eat.  Many have never intentionally purchased a piece of organic produce even once in their entire lives.  To me, the idea of asking a host whether the meat was sourced carefully is just as uncomfortable as if one of my dinner guests were to put down his fork, give me an earnest, concerned look, and ooze, “Now, Gen, I’d really like to talk to you about Jesus.”

No.  No you don’t.

It’s that personal.  I make the food choices I make because I feel it contributes not only to my own personal health, but to the health and good of everyone.  Alienation does not contribute to the health and good of everyone.  Food snob evangelization does not make anyone better.  It just makes you look like an asshole.  It makes others uncomfortable to be around you.  It causes them to associate the whole natural food/urban farming/organic blah blah blah movement with feelings of inferiority and shame.  When you shame someone, they don’t want to listen to you.  When you make someone feel inadequate, you do not effect positive change.  This isn’t to say that you can’t talk about your lifestyle with others–of course you should.  When the time and place are proper, and if said others seem interested.  Otherwise, you’re beating a dead horse.  A grass-fed, free-range horse that belches rainbows, sure.  But a dead horse nonetheless.

Sure, I’d love it if all my friends felt the way I do about natural food.  And I’m sure they’d love it if I didn’t de-pants myself at inopportune moments.  Point is, we can’t always get what we want.

Your friends may start to cook and eat like you, eventually.  They may not.  THEY’RE STILL YOUR FRIENDS.  Chances are, that means they contribute to your happiness in some way.  Which means they’re awesome.  And they don’t deserve asshole-ery.  So when you find yourself tempted to say something about the meal they’ve so graciously served you, remember that you two have something in common.  You both long for a world where a carrot doesn’t have to be called an “organic carrot” to imply its wholesome nature.  It can just be a carrot.  A world where we can all relax, pull up to the table, and be carrots–I mean–trust that our food is what it’s supposed to be.  A world where we don’t have to talk about it.

But I’ve heard enough stories to know that I don’t speak for everyone on this front.  So I’d like to hear from you–do you think it’s rude to popularize your foodie beliefs at your friend’s dinner table, or do you take the “loud and proud” approach?  How do you think victims of food snobbery should respond when confronted?

Read Full Post »

Photo by Infrogmation (talk) of New Orleans

You know how people always say, “Ohh, don’t use Twitter and Facebook to tell people what you had for breakfast!  That’s, like, sooo the wrong way to use the Internets!”?

Well, they do.

Anyway, whenever it happens, it makes me cringe.  That’s because I’m a food voyeur.  I WANT to know what you had for breakfast.  I also wanna know what you had for lunch, dinner, elevenses, high tea, clandestine snack time, and midnight munchfest.  And hell, I’ll go a step further.  I wanna know what’s in your fridge, too.

I’m not that houseguest who prowls through your medicine cabinet.  Couldn’t care less.  But I will stand in the kitchen having cocktails and laughing and chatting with everyone else while the little person in my head goes, “WHAT’S IN THE FRIDGE, OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD!”  Could it be…camembert cheeese?  A big bowl of citrus fruits?  Craft beer, or the cheap stuff?  A log of salami?  A body?  And what do they keep in the pantry?

Well, you shouldn’t dish it out if you can’t take it, right?

So I’ll let you in on the things that are always in my fridge and pantry, even when we haven’t shopped in a while.

In Team Frigidaire’s Corner, we have:

*Hard-boiled eggs (Great for an on-the-go breakfast for The Boy, or a healthy snack for me.  Ladies, eggs are the original 100-calorie pack…except they’re only 70 calories!  Eat real food.  Seriously.)

*Whole milk plain yogurt (A light lunch these days looks like a bowl of this yogurt, several hefty BAMS of Saigon Cassia Cinnamon from The Spice House, a handful of sliced almonds, and a handful of golden raisins.  Stir and nom.)

*Lacto-fermented produce (Right now we’ve got pickled crocks of red cabbage sauerkraut, garlic dill carrots, garlic basil tomatoes, cuke spears and slices, chow chow relish, jalapenos, hot-and-sour sesame cabbage, kim chi, and whole clementines floating in probiotic caramel syrup)

*Sourdough starter

*Cheeeeeeese (at a minimum, we’ve got grated pecorino romano, yogurt cheese, and often a hard, aged cheddar of sorts)

*Organic peanut-and-salt-only peanut butter

*Whey (for more lacto-fermenting, my friends)

*Lemons (salad dressing, soup brightening, beverage-enhancing…lemons do it all!)

*Grass-fed butter in one-pound blocks

*The Boy’s Homebrewed Beer (at the moment it’s one keg each of Wit and Red Rye IPA)

*A tub of miso paste

*Scanmask beneficial nematodes (What?  They’re for my plants.  You’re SUPPOSED to keep them in the fridge.  What?)

And over on Team Pantry, we’ve got:

*Assorted nuts (at the moment, it’s slivered almonds, whole almonds, chopped pecans, and walnut halves–all of them raw)

*Dried fruits (always raisins, at least the golden ones, but usually both)

*Bananas (I went through a phase once where I ate three bananas a day.  It lasted years.  I have no legitimate defense.  I still eat one just about every day.)

*Chocolate….lots of it, in various forms.  (I rarely go a night without having some, and I always keep a large, high-quality block of 72% around for shaving, chipping, chunking, and OH YEAH MAJOR NOMMING OM NOM NOM…)

*Canned tuna and/or salmon and/or anchovies (You can do just about anything with tinned fish, am I right?  I SAID, AM I RIGHT??  Thank you.)

*Coconut milk (Being lactose-intolerant, I feel that this one is pretty important, y’all.  Soups, dairy substitute, curry base, ice “cream”…)

*Seaweed (the roasted and salted kind is great for snacking, provides an iodine boost if you don’t use iodized salt, and can be thrown into some miso broth in a pinch with a poached egg for some awesome soup…yes, this is as close to ramen packets as I will probably ever get.)

Of course, this doesn’t include our very generous assortment of specialty spices, oils, sauces, flours, sugars, grains, blah blah blah.  I figure those are a given.  And every Friday we get a CSA box delivered with more goodies.

Well, how’d I do?  More boring than you thought?  Anything shocking?  I have quite a few living things in my fridge, don’t I?  I also have quite a few DEAD things MWAHAHAHAHHA!

Okay, now fair’s fair.  Feed my obsession and tell me what YOU always keep on hand.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: