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Archive for the ‘Carrots’ Category

Okay, so if this photo is looking familiar to you…congratulations!  You don’t have short-term memory loss!  The end.

I kid (well, not really about the memory loss thing, so if you got a little self-esteem boost from that, I’m letting you keep it).  If this photo looks familiar to you, it’s because I posted it last Friday, for Friday Food Porn.

The Boy eats this stuff with a spoon in front of the TV…you know, ’cause he’s hardcore.  I’m almost as hardcore…as I mentioned last week, I occasionally put out a jar of this stuff with a bag of tortilla chips and a blender of margaritas and call it dinner.

Which is totally acceptable, by the way, because Kate said so.  See?:

“Well, ummmm, sometimes you just need a Tortilla Chip and Margarita dinner. Here is an enabling moment – make some lacto fermented salsa and then you can feel downright righteous about them!

Kate just gets me, people.  Virtual pair of projectile fishnets slingshotted in Kate’s direction.  Which is what I do for people I like.  I throw my intimate apparel at them.  Naturally.

But there was another interesting comment in the mix.  Misfit jamaica-momma said:

“looks DIVINE!!!
recipe please??? & is there a way to veganize it?”

You know you cute lil’ misfits get anything you want out of me.  I CAN’T say no.

Truth is, you don’t need starter culture (whey) at all to make lacto-fermented pickles.  You can just add a little extra salt to speed things along, and then let lactic acid fermentation and healthy bacteria take their natural course.  It will take longer to pickle your food without the head start, but it works just the same.  A second option is using a vegetable starter culture instead of whey.  You can buy that here.

So what have we learned here today?  The BMG likes to put some spice in your life.  Also, I throw my underthings at people.  Oh, AS IF you’re surprised.

Lacto-Fermented Escabeche
Makes 3 quarts

Go Get:

6 jalapeno peppers, cut into thick slices (dial this number down if you don’t like spicy–as is, the recipe makes a medium-to-hot escabeche)
6 Tablespoons whey from drained yogurt (if you’re vegan or prefer not to use a dairy culture, try this vegetable starter culture. If you omit starter cultures entirely, up the salt and fermentation time.)
5 1/3 cups bite-size cauliflower florets
1 1/2 Tablespoons salt (if you’re not using whey or starter culture, increase this to 2 1/2 Tablespoons)
1 1/2 Tablespoons black peppercorns
2 heaping teaspoons dried oregano
1 large white onion, sliced thinly
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 large carrots, sliced into wheels

Go Do:

Toss all ingredients (except whey) together in a large bowl.  Allow everything to sit and “sweat” for a few minutes.  Now pack the veggies tightly into the jars and pour in 2 Tablespoons of whey per jar.  Top up the mixture with filtered water to cover.  Now place open Ziploc bags over the jars (open side up), and fill them with enough water to weigh the veggies down and keep them submerged.  When you have that right, seal the bags, cover the jars loosely with a towel, and let sit in a dark, room-temperature location.  Check the escabeche for sourness and texture daily–the carrots should still be snappy.  My escabeche is usually perfect after about 1 week, but your results will differ based on temperature and environment–if you’re not using any whey or starter culture at all, it will take longer.  Once it’s perfect, refrigerate the batch to slow fermentation and enjoy!  It’ll keep for about a year, and usually longer.

Note: If a little mold develops on top, don’t worry–this is normal.  Just skim it off, rinse and replace the bag, and keep fermenting.

Another note: When I want the flexibility of varying heat levels, I put varying amounts of jalapeno slices in each jar.  Then I label them accordingly: “Mild,” “Medium,” and “Oh Dear GOD.”

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**Psst!  I’ve since posted the recipe for this here.**

Spicy pickled escabeche, just like the kind you’d find on the tables at authentic taquerias.  Only this one is lacto-fermented, so it packs a sour, probiotic punch.

Shockingly addictive, and it also makes BMG feel pretty a-okay about tortilla chip and margarita dinners.

As if a sense of propriety were standing in my way?

PLEASE.

Happy weekend, misfits!

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Wanna know what I did on my summer vacation?  Besides drive myself and everyone else batty?  And tweet too much?  Well, I’ll tell you.  I…

Visited a beautiful farmhouse B&B set on a five-acre organic farm in Wisconsin.  Then I wrote it up for an article.

Celebrated my un-burfday with my twin brother, Johnny.  Being born on Christmas could have sucked royally.  Thankfully, my family applied the same logic to birthdays as they do to shopping furniture sales–Christmas in July is never a bad thing.  What you see there is my birthday dessert of choice–a banana cream pie from the always-nommiful Hoosier Mama Pie Company in Chicago’s bohemian West Town neighborhood.  Better pie I have not found.  And believe me, I’ve looked all around.

Did you notice that rhymed?  I worked hard on that.

I’m also going to take this opportunity to offer a shoutout to The Brother, Johnny.  You’re one cool dude, Johnny.  If Bad Mama Genny has to share a birthday with someone, she’s glad it’s you.  ‘Cause frankly, you’ve put up with a lot of shite over the years.  I’m sorry about that one time with the thing.  And that other time, with that other thing.  And though I’m sure it scarred you for life, the incident with that third thing, that was really hilarious to me at the time, but which I’m sure was annoying as hell at the time said thing occurred.

Uh, love you!

Made an extremely popular, mostly-natural version of those cream-filled Hostess cupcakes for one of my many un-burfday parties.  What?  Look, if it’s just a birthday, maybe you only have one party, but this was an un-BURFday party, ‘kay?

Don’t hate.

Notice the “g” hidden in the swirl.

Blew up an obscene number of balloons for said un-burfday party.  Walked through, bodysurfed over, and danced around them for two days.  Vowed to fill my apartment with balloons and live that way year-round.  Carefully migrated the balloons down two flights of curving stairs and into the backyard for the un-burfday party.  Watched them all pop systematically as soon as the vicious heat expanded their gases enough to push them past their limit.  Cried a little.  Jumped into The Boy’s arms and screamed every time one bit the dust.

I also scream every time that timer thingy from Scattergories goes off at the end of the thinking time.  Every time.  Does not fail.  Hey, guys, wanna play Scattergories with me again?

No?

Ya’ sure?

They must be intimidated by my brilliance.

Carefully migrated every refrigerator magnet, including the magnetic poetry, from the old fridge into a plastic bag.  Then put them up, one by one, on the new refrigerator.  Which, by the way, bit the dust one month after purchase SO HOLY HELL I HAD TO DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN.  Onto a third fridge.

I think there’s a circle of hell where all you do is migrate magnetic poetry from fridge to fridge.  And now that I think about it, that’s probably the circle of hell I’ll inhabit one day.  Magnetic poetic justice.

What’s that, dearest mommy?  You didn’t think I was going to hell?  Well, I am.  Apparently, it’s all part of selling your soul to Satan.  But I’ve talked it over with Jesus, and he knows it’s nothing personal, and he promised not to take it out on you.  So I’m sure you’ll still get that pineapple whipped cream room when you die, like you’ve always wanted.

Glad we had this talk.

Took bizarrely-lit nighttime photos of my cucumber bounty before I turned it into pickles.

Yep.  We made pickle spears, smaller pickle spears (out of the white cucumbers), and bread and butter slices (from extra lemon cucumbers).  I dunno about you, but I’m not a huge fan of sweet pickles.

Actually, that’s an understatement.  I LOATHE SWEET PICKLES.  So when I’m in my magnetic poetry circle of hell, I’m sure someone will be force-feeding me sweet pickles.  DAMMIT!

Ooh, look, finally a natural light photo.  Took me long enough.  Pickles, pickles, pickles!

!!!!

Made brandied cherries…aren’t they pretty?  And I love that vintage pink jar (thrift shop!).  You don’t even need a recipe, but here’s one that’s sorta close to my method.  By the way…these things’ll knock your socks off.  Put ’em on a cocktail, top a sundae with ’em, or just sit on the couch armed with a jar of these and your cherry-pickin’ fingers.  Just know that they’re strong.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you when you stand up to put ’em back in the fridge and Charlie the Unicorn invites you dance with him to the greatest hits of Pink Floyd while you search for his missing kidneys.

Made some kickass chicken thighs.  Very good recipe, by the way.  The Boy died in my arms tonight when I made them.  Then he unmelted and asked for seconds.

And by golly, any chicken thighs that can melt and unmelt a man with as much structural integrity as The Boy is A-OK in my book.  A-OK, I tell you.

Harvested every one of these little Parisian round carrots from a little spot in back of the old apartment that my landlady so kindly allowed me to borrow.  I couldn’t bear to leave them behind, so just know that some of them are a little undergrown.  At an inch to an inch and a half per plant, they’re not the most efficient use of space, but you know what they are?  Cute.  Very, very cute.  And probably a great addition to a garden-themed dinner party’s appetizer spread.  Ooh, note to self: garden-themed dinner party.  Wanna grow these yourself?  Ask and you shall receive, my sweet poppets.  Sweet, sweet misfit poppets.

Sweet, sweet, sweet misfit poppets.

Too much?  Chill out–there will be no eating of your liver with fava beans a nice chianti, okay?  Not today.  Here’s the link.

Took unfocused, sideways shots of unwashed produce and didn’t bother to reorient them before posting them here.  It’s just who I am these days.

Celebrated my mom and aunt’s actual, for real birthday!  Like, it wasn’t even an un-burfday!  They’re also twins, but they’re for really real twins.  Not that Johnny and I aren’t for really real twins.  But we’re fraternal.  And we don’t have a mind-reading thingy going on.  My mom and aunt are identical twins, and they do have a mind-reading thingy going on.  Wanna know what kind of cake this is?  Yellow, with pineapple and whipped cream filling.  And, oh my, look how this blog post has come full circle; suddenly I’m filled with a feeling of oneness and harmony.

Moving on.

Tried to figure out what happened to make my eggplants change color and stop producing.  The answer is me.  I happened.  By neglecting to fertilize my eggplants for a two month stretch while I moved my earthly possessions from one plot to another, I happened to my eggplants.  And they weren’t happy with the happening that happened.  But I’ll be better next year, lil’ eggplanties, ‘kay?  I’ll also plant a billion more, since aside from the happening that happened to them, they were beautiful and productive and beautiful and problem-free and beautiful.

May I remind you of a fabulously delicious way to use prepare eggplant?  Besides the eggplant parmigiana thing that everyone knows about and has done a thousand times?  And baba ghanoush?  Here you are. She’s my all-time favorite food blogger.  And I hear she’s also absolutely stunning in person.  True story.

Found my old favorite gym shirt!  From back when I used to go to the gym.  When dinosaurs roamed the earth.

In case you’re too damn lazy to read this backwards, it reads “Asthma is Sexy!”  Note the striking background silhouette of a man using an inhaler.  I’ve now made a promise.  A life changing promise.  To myself.  To never go to the gym again.  Oh, and another promise.  That every time I use my inhaler, I will strike a sexy, dramatic pose like that one.  To propogate the notion of asthma’s sexiness.

So what have we learned today?

Well, I’ll tell you what we’ve learned.

One, I am now on a personal crusade to erase guilt from my life by legitimizing all my actions.  It’s a beautiful thing.

Two, other stuff.

Three, I’m pretty lazy when it comes to wrap-ups of what we’ve learned.  It’s just who I am these days.

See you soon, my precious babies!  Precious, precious, babies.

Precious, precious, precious misfit babies.

Am I doing it again?  Sorry.

It’s just who I am these days.

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“Ahmaga!  AHMAGAHH!”  The Boy was clearly trying to tell me something.

“What?” I asked, half-afraid he didn’t like the kitchari.  I knew I liked it, but he’d never tried it before.  Probably because I’d made him a steak out of misplaced guilt or something.  I do that.

Oh, God, I AM turning into my mother!

Anyway.  The Boy was making frantic fanning gestures at his mouth.

“HAAAHT!  Is haht! ::cough cough swallow::”

What’s that, The Boy?  You’re trying to tell me I’m hot?  Well, way to point out the obvious, but thanks, nonetheless, my good man!

“I was trying to say, the kitchari is really hot.  But oh, man, I could eat this every day!”

Oh.  Right.  Well, that’s still complimentary.  I guess.

But kitchari isn’t exactly pretty or elegant–in fact, it’s best described as, well, gruel.  But he’s right–kitchari kicks all kinds of ass.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with kitchari, it’s a dish that’s very popular among those who live according to the principles of Ayurvedic medicine.  Ayurveda is a philosophy and healing art designed to restore the harmony and balance of the body.  The main premise is that people can generally be classified as having one of four main body types, and that this type determines how you should eat, sleep, and exercise for the best health and longevity.

Whatever, man.  I just think it’s really good.

So what is it? Well, it’s a thick, stew-y dish of split yellow peas, rice, vegetables, and easily-digested spices, with a texture that I can best liken to a very thick, starchy oatmeal.  Because it’s low in fiber, non-challenging for compromised digestive systems, and extremely nutritious, it’s often used as the sole means of sustenance for ill people trying to get their bodies back into balance.

READ: I eat it when I’m hung over.

But that doesn’t mean kitchari is bland–the spice blend of fresh fennel and mustard seeds, along with crushed cumin, coriander, and turmeric makes this savory, warm, and not boring at all.  Try kitchari if you’re recovering from digestive upset and feel you may not be getting the nutrition you need.  Ulcer-sufferers, IBS patients, vegetarians, those poor, poor people making unkeepable promises to never, ever drink again, and even just healthy people who want a big, warm bowl of something primitively nourishing can all benefit from a big, warm bowl of this MAGICAL STUFF THAT TOTALLY BROUGHT ME BACK TO THE LAND OF THE LIVING OH GOD.

What’s that you say?  You’re horribly hung over, you say?  You feel sick as a dog, you say?

FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC!  Let’s eat!

Kitchari Recipe
Makes, like, a whole bunch

Go Get:
1 cup Brown Jasmine Rice (traditional recipes recommend white/basmati rice…I love the scent and texture of brown jasmine so that’s what I use.  You use what you like.)
2 cups Mung Dal (split yellow peas); I’ve also used half yellow split and half green split with great results
7 cups water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 Tbs. Ghee (I just use regular melted butter, unclarified; use oil to make this vegan)
1Tbsp Fennel Seeds
3 tsp. Mustard Seeds
2 tsp. Cumin Seeds
2 tsp. Turmeric Powder
2 tsp. Coriander Powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Generous pinch ginger
1 heaping cup frozen peas
2 medium yellow potatoes
Large handful baby carrots, sliced into wheels
Large handful chopped cilantro leaves

Go Do:
Rinse and sort mug dal thoroughly.  Heat the butter/ghee/oil in a large, thick-bottomed pot, like a Dutch Oven.  Sauté the seeds in the fat until they start to pop.   Then add the other spices.   Add the mung dal and salt, and sauté for 1 or 2 minutes. Add water, bring to boil, then simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the dal is about 2/3 cooked.

Add rice and these vegetables. Stir to mix, adding extra water if the mixture is too thick.  Bring back to a boil, then simmer for 20-30 minutes or until rice is fully cooked.  Keep checking to see if you need to add more water.  You want to achieve as little remaining water as possible, so make sure you leave the lid on the pot when you’re not stirring or checking it.  You’re not making a soup, or even a stew–remember my thick oatmeal analogy.  When the rice is cooked through, taste the mixture to see if it needs additional salt.  Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the chopped cilantro.

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When very little else last night was coming together with minimal effort, at least dinner was–this soup took ten minutes, and the hardest thing about it was cooking the brown rice I served alongside it.  Quick as a flash!

Which, of course, makes me think of The Flash.

In my ignorance of such important details, I’d always assumed The Flash’s superpower was his ability to intimidate and disgust by getting naked really quickly. 

Whatever, the name’s really ambiguous, all right?  

APPARENTLY, The Flash is actually more about doing important things super speedily.  Here I would just like to interject that under the right circumstances, getting naked to intimidate and disgust could be considered an important activity.

Look, I’m not saying The Flash went around flashing people to get his jollies.  I’m just saying he could have, if he’d wanted to.  And his wanting to is not that far-fetched a concept.  I mean, what if The Evil Doctor Whatshisface, turned psychotic by his disfiguring childhood accident while doing…whatever…, decided to hold the Mayor Blahington III of Somewheresville hostage, and if people didn’t turn over X natural resource, which was the only missing component to Doctor Whatshisface’s new mind-control thingy that runs on insert obscure crystal here, Doctor Whatshisface would kill the Mayor Blahington III, who’d been the only man capable of cleaning up the effed up streets of Somewheresville when they’d been overrun by violent gangsters and warlords who it turns out–GASP!–were actually henchmen of Doctor Whatshisface, and OMG, this comic just got soooo deep!?  The Flash could’ve probably zoomed in on Doctor Whathisface’s ass and been all, Hey, check this out, and Doctor Whatshisface would’ve been all, Lol, The Flash, you think you’re so cool, well not even you can save–OH SWEET GOD IN HEAVEN PUT THAT AWAY!!–and he’d be so intimidated and disgusted that The Flash would have time to zip up his little pleather suit and make off with Mayor Blahington III.

So about that recipe! 

Thai Coconut Curry Soup with Shrimp

Go Get:
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (I had the frozen, ready to go kind on hand…YES!)
1 can coconut milk
3 cups fish stock or chicken broth
2 Tablespoons red curry paste (The Boy and I like it hot, but you might want to start with 1 and work up from there if you’re not sure)
1 inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
2 Tablespoons lime juice
2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 cup carrot slices
1 cup snow pea pods or green bean segments
healthy handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Go Do:
Cook your rice or whatever you’re serving alongside, as the soup will come together quickly.  Put stock, ginger, and lime juice into a large pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and add the coconut milk, oyster sauce, fish sauce, curry paste, and vegetables.  Cook, covered, until vegetables are crisp-tender (keep an eye on this–it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes).  Throw in the shrimp and continue to simmer until the shrimp is just cooked through, around 3 to 4 minutes.  Toss in the cilantro.  No joke, you’re done.  Taste it to make sure the heat level is up your alley, and then ladle it up, serve alongside a healthy scoop of rice, and ponder the power of nakedness.

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The Boy and I consistently and most seriously acknowledge the fact of his Irish heritage having given him a genetic affinity for potatoes.  While we can’t explain his attraction to curry by such convenient AND INCREDIBLY SCIENTIFIC means, we accept it without question as another certainty of our little life together (Do we like curry?  Uh, is the Pope Catholic?  Does the sun rise in the East?  Does Bad Mama Genny like fishnets?  I rest my case).

Thankfully, potatoes are also excellent budget food, and therefore, were to be a staple of our sobering (in many senses) week of post-Christmas meals.  Meals the week after Christmas tend to involve…innovative…combinations.  Take this morning’s scrambled eggs with hot dog wheels (“Mmm, wheeler-ific!”) or noon-time’s handful of leftover spiced pecans with a swig of grape juice (“Goes down so much smoother than Listerine!”).  So while The Boy and I were naturally okay with the idea of a week of potatoes, we were also bored with the same old standby options.  Enter…

THE MAIL!

You guessed it, my dollies: the mailman, unhindered by rain, sleet, or snow (or in the case of our neighborhood, stoned Mexicans, cantankerous elderly Asian men, or the cat-lady’s many savvy, trained-to-kill, unnecessarily aggressive “kitties,” if we may call them that), saved our day–NAY–our LIVES!  That’s because the mail brought us a Christmas present from the Girl and the Girl II–a Curry Lover’s Gift Box.img_4894

from the Spice House!

!!!

!!!!

I mean, great jumping Jehosephat, that kicks all kinds of ass!

For you poor souls who are unfamiliar with the Spice House, suffice it to say that they are a tiny chain of, well, spice houses that exist only in the greater Chicago/Milwaukee area (but by the magic of the Internet, absolutely anyone can enjoy their wares!).  I’ve managed to spend hours perusing their collections, and have never left disappointed (Spiced cider blend anyone?  Corned beef seasoning?  But of course!  I’ll take fifty!).

So after we got over the initial giddiness from huffing the Double-Strength Vanilla Extract and the Saigon Cassia Cinnamon they also sent us, our thoughts turned, naturally, to potato curry.  A quick survey revealed that we also had peas and carrots, and a dinnertime star was born.

The curry that resulted was beyond good.  If you can’t find a good hot curry powder, or if you’d like to try to work out your own blend, the one from Spice House is hand-mixed from “turmeric, Cayenne red pepper, China No. 1 ginger, Indian cumin, white pepper, cinnamon, fenugreek, fennel, nutmeg, arrowroot, cardamon, cloves, and Tellicherry pepper.”

Stick that in your tandoor and smoke it!

The addition of coconut milk in this recipe keeps things smooth, creamy, and, hellooooo, vegan!  What are you waiting for?  A freaking sign?  Here is your sign, people!  Here is your sign!

SIGN

Thank goodness for the Girl and the Girl II.  Thank goodness for the Spice House.  But really, let’s not forget the real hero here–no, not the potato.  It looks kinda like a potato, though.  That’s right–the mailman.

Thank you, Mr. Mailman–this time, you’ve really managed to deliver! (You still receive no credit for last week’s shredded magazine, though I will grant that the mangled perfume samples made our building’s wretchedly stanky hallway somewhat more bearable.)

Potato Curry with Peas and Carrots
Makes 4 generous servings

Go Get:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon hot curry powder, preferably from the Spice House (the Boy and I like it hot, as I’ve heard some do…use discretion, you may want to add it gradually)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large onions, thinly sliced
8 oz. carrots, thinly sliced
1 1/4 cups frozen peas
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. turmeric
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
1 can coconut milk
1 cup water (you may need more)

Go Do:
In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, add the hot curry powder and stir it around for 30 seconds. Add the onions to the pan and saute until they are tender and a bit golden. When you’re there, add the carrots, potatoes, and minced garlic. Give it all a good stir, and then add about a half cup each of water and coconut milk. Stir in the turmetic, salt, and coriander. Reduce the heat to low and cover it. Check every so often to stir the pot and check the moisture level. When the moisture is almost all absorbed, add more coconut milk and water, in equal parts. Continue to cook, stir, and add liquid until the vegetables are very tender and the curry is nice and thick. At this point, taste it to check that the spice levels are where you like them. When you’re there, stir in the peas and the rest of the coconut milk (and water if necessary), and cook it for another 3 minutes or so, until the peas are heated through and the curry thickens up again. Serve over brown rice.

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