Saturday, January 30, 2010

January 28

What We Ate (while you were gone)

Hi Austin- 
We went into the city on Wednesday for a change of scenery on the first whole sunny day we've had since you left. It was fun .  We ate breakfast at a Slow Food-recommended place that I actually don't recommend unless you are searching for the only grits and biscuits in the Bay Area. They serve something called Georgia Ice Cream which is a bowl of grits with sunny side up eggs on top. You'd think it'd be good. We are just spoiled. It felt very authentic Southern greasy spoon; I guess I just wasn't in the mood for that. A classic cheap looking diner, with the woodwork painted pepto bismol pink and old antique dusty pig pictures and ceramics - the kind where the smiling pig is wearing a bowtie and bib. The Pork Store was the name.  
 Back at home, I charred a batch of meaty bones I was trying to make broth from (did Sealion leave the lid open over night, I wonder??), and stunk up the whole house for days.  We ate off of Saul's carry out for a couple dinners- needed my liver and mashed potato fix.  And picked up something from TSH that tided us over for two more nights. Lamb shepherds pie.  Filling.  Those shepherds wouldn't need to eat again for days!
My latest concoction excitement though is that I finally made the date - coconut energy balls I was talking about. That Cuisinart of yours is so nice to use! They practically made themselves!  As if they were hard in the first place.  1 1/2 cup pitted little gooey sweet dates (must get more tomorrow at the farmers' market!!!!) and probably a cup of coconut butter  (Jess's recipe [from Full Moon Feast] calls for only 1/2 cup, but that recipe is way too sweet for my taste. As it is I'm still trying to figure out how to cut the sweet.)  A generous tbsp (let's call it 2) of melted coconut oil. That's all. Blended. Then see how quick it takes you to eat enough to make you sick.  Me? No time flat.
My favorite way to eat it: nestled in a spoonful of almond butter.  ;-). Oh.  It is divine.
I used a melon baller to make tiny little balls that I rolled in oiled hands, and I'm keeping them in the fridge. I'd like to experiment with the recipe to use less coconut butter. But any other nut would require soaking and toasting which would make them much more labor intensive (and still expensive.)  As it is it is so easy; it just requires an expensive ingredient that I have to make a Whole Foods run to procure. But they really pack a punch! One little nugget is plenty. And for Anjali, who loves them, I cut one ball into thirds.

Oh, I forgot to say that the recipe calls for rolling the balls in coconut flakes but I don't really like that part so I just mixed a little in while the stuff was still in the Cuisinart. They add subtle texture, but I don't feel like a cow chewing grass for hours as I might otherwise. Oh! The excitement! I know reading all this mundanity makes you wanna hop on a plane and fly home right now!

 (oh geez this blogger really gives me fits..) (the more i try to fix it, the more it pisses me off..)

Friday, January 29, 2010

January 25 ~ Almond Buttered Up

What We Ate (while you were gone)

Dear Austin: 
Well. All I've got to say is that making almond butter was a terribly baaaad idea! Anjali and I ate so much of it before it was even out of the food processor that I think we both got sick! I don't even wanna smell a hint of almond.... Until tomorrow! It's a good thing almonds are so expensive or I might turn into an almond butter girl too wide to fit out the door in no time!
 almond butter face
I had to roast the almonds in the oven because the toaster oven is officially kaput. And they turned out a little roastyer than usual. So delicious I considered not making them into butter, but the Cuisinart was already out (I tell you, that thing is just inviting to use.  I could see using it daily just because it feels so good.  Solid.).  Coconut oil - about that much. Seasalt. No honey.
Addicting.  We are only allowed to make it once when you get back just so you know how good it is.   It is bad news, I tell you!
Raining cats and dogs out there as I type.
I think there is another plus to using so much lard during the winter other than deliciousness - the vitamin D! I haven't gotten the least bit melancholy this season (except when I said goodbye to you on Skype yesterday! My stomach felt quite the pang..!). Praise the lard! In Sally Fallon's power point presentation she has an old school poster from the 50's that shows a happy, laughing family (50's style) and says "they're happy because they eat lard!" true stuff!
Roasted chicken, rice with loads of butter, and broccoli await me at the table.  Had to put little peapod to bed early ~ so sleepy!

I love you!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

January 21-23

Have I written in a few days??  I had an adventurous trip to the Farmers' Market on Thursday:  it was cooooold and drizzling.  A TERRIBLE day to go to the market.  But our cupboards were bare, and Eduardo (of Morell's Bread) actually wrote a little email to his regular customers guilting us into coming out:  "the market's open rain or shine, warm or cold... come support the market ~ one of the aspects of living in this area that makes it so cool."  Well, ok!  So Papi and Anjali stayed cozy by the fire, and I had a thrilling jaunt down the street.  There were fewer than 10 vendors ~ a skeleton crew ~ and it was so bitter-ass miserable out there, I really felt obligated to buy from each one!  I skipped the yogurt and Riverdog.  Bought eggs, bacon and bratwurst from Highland Hills because the girl said the brats were her favorite, and that the seasoning on the bacon was just right this batch.  Happy Boy:  huge bag of braising mix ~ which they call "stir fry mix", and carrots.  Oranges ~ delicious oranges!.  bread from Eduardo, just cuz.  And darn!  I had to buy a croissant to support the poor vendor who was crouching inside the back of his topper-truck with rain blowing in on his pretzels.  Poor thing!  I just toasted the croissant and pulled it apart bite by bite and let it melt on my tongue and it was so worth the white flour splurge!
Yesterday I played around with the Moosewood Cookbook recipe to try to mimic the veggie pancakes at Venus.  I used the carrots I got from Happy Boy.  They were tasty for the first try, but they need some tweaking ~ spice, for one thing.  And actually more veggie.  The recipe called for 4 cups of grated veg to 4 eggs, 1/3 cup flour, and 1 cup cheese.  I thought that they would fall apart and taste just like veg.  But as it happened, the carrots cooked down surprisingly a lot, and they were more like pancakes with carrots as an ingredient, rather than having the carrot be the star of the show.  Good though.   For dinner I made a simple miso soup using our Christmas goose broth (only one jar left!), sliced turnips and garlic, grated ginger, and matchsticks of celeriac, plus a couple pork-ginger-scallion Three Stone Hearth patties that I cut up into little cubes.  Then egg-plopped it (poached eggs in the simmering soup), and added brown rice miso to each bowl.  It was nice and warming ~ it rained all day again yesterday.
Today the sun has shown most of the day, with a few small showers, and actually one nice one that came down pretty hard while the sun was still shining bright and hot.  I bet there was a rainbow somewhere!  :-)
Farmers' Market today, again by myself ~ more of those good oranges (I think the persimmon season is done for me.  I ate 3-4 persimmons last Saturday and made my tummy sick.  The next day when I sliced one open it did not look appetizing.  I don't want to burn out on them!  I want to enjoy them again next winter! I passed by the pudding-soft persimmon vendor guy today..  I hoped he didn't notice..).  More dates!  ~ Sealion has been getting all munchy on them, and Anjali and I have come to depend on them!  the little delicious ones were on sale.  :-)  Perhaps Papi won't hear that I got more....  ; )  Sweet potatoes, apples, and broccoli and another heaping bag of greens from Happy Boy.  I am getting to where I feel like I need them at least once a day.  They do my body good!  I was noticing today:  I think I often buy things like apples or potatoes in threes....So today I purposefully bought only two sweet potatoes..

Well, the babe awakes.
Keep loving it, Austin!  Keep breathing in deep.

January 18

Monday: we ate at Venus for breakfast. Since it's MLK day, the place was packed and they were serving the expanded weekend brunch menu - bonus! I ordered the Indian Brunch, which I've never had for fear of disappointment, and was: deeply delighted!  There were two "pancakes" of grated carrots, zucchini, and parsnip, that reminded me of light fritters or latkes (not deep fried), with a delicious spicy mango sauce. I devoured them! [I remember a recipe for something similar (zucchini pancakes) in Moosewood Cookbook that I am inspired to play around with for breakfast. I love veggies for breakfast!]  An egg scramble with tomatoes, chiles, and cilantro, two small chipatis that were like yummy handmade whole wheat tortillas (good for slathering with melting butter!), and then a banana raita ~ yogurt with chunks of banana, and many mustard seeds so that it had a crunch. Anjali kept dipping her finger in the mango sauce, making a pained face as she stuck out her tongue, then dipping it in again. I felt her pain. ; )
It poured rain today! Downpours like I've never seen here!  And Papi had an evening shift.
For dinner Anjali and I had a Fearless Frank hotdog (she ate more than half!!! Next time she gets her own damn dog!) and a big mess of greens. I sauteed the greens in bacon grease and lard, with several crushed garlic cloves, and then at the end poured probably 2 tbsp of cream on them for some good comfort food. They did indeed remind me of creamed spinach. Yum. Eating at the coffee table, Anjali pulled over the Wassail Kraut jar so that it spilled a puddle of juice on the table. Not wanting to waste the goodness, I leaned over and started slurping. She thought it was so funny, she tried it.  We took turns. After she licked and slurped, she would push my head down to do it again. We sucked it all up and poured more on our plate to slurp.  It was a great mommy-daughter bonding moment.  ; )

January 17

Hi Austin!!
We had one of those hilariously stupid arguments today that wouldn't have dragged on nearly as long had you been here. Hungry Tiffie strikes again! :-P
We had the best bacon(!), and eggs-n-greens for breakfast. Yum to the yum-yum!
Arlene was passing thru at dinnertime, so she ate with us: Sealion grilled goat burgers with goat cheese on top (goat goat goat!) and arugula, and I roasted gold beets with olive oil, and more arugula as a salad with walnuts. The goat (goat goat!) was delicious. We all agreed that we would not have guessed the meat. Flavorful, but not even as gamey as lamb can be sometimes, and I love lamb. Delicious!
Another gray drizzly day. You are not missing anything around here so far!
Keep having fun!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

January 16

What We Ate (while you were gone)
Hi Austin!
Today we were going to ride bikes down to Tacubaya but guess what??! I couldn't find that set of keys! so... We went to our good ol' standby, Saul's.
Sealion - corned beef reuben, and cream of tomato soup. Jali And I - cream of tomato soup and scrambled eggs. A side of potatoes that were so cold I should have sent them back; as it is I brought em home and will just have to reheat them in bacon grease till they taste good. And more salt.
Went to the Saturday farmers' market late enough to get some deals! Apples for Papi and for Anjali, crisp persimmons for Mommy, a big ol bag of braising mix from County Line farm, because theirs didn't have that silly filler stuff in there - all baby kales and collards, and beets just cuz they looked good. They also hooked us up with a load of  greens for the chickens.  I got two of the pudding-soft persimmons - one for you and one for me, and ate both of them right then and there, no excuses. Well, I did give some to Anjali. I'm not sure any made it into her mouth because she had it aaalll over her face to make quite a grand impression on everyone in the play area. She made some buddies anyway. They played parachutes with plastic grocery bags and didn't even mind that she joined in and took one. She had fuuun.!

For dinner I roasted a small butternut squash and thawed some of the leftover smoked pulled pork. Lard and butter. Sauteed onion and celeriac, lots of minced garlic, spices- cinnamon, smoked paprika, powdered ginger, chili flakes and cayenne, then chopped up three dates and tossed them in.  I meant for it to be kind of like an exotic barbecue... I think the pork had a little freezer burn bc it was dry and sucked up the fat. we just spooned butter into our bowls and ate it like ketchup or something.  If I had had broth thawed, I would have added some. That would have made it. The taste, however, was great. And anytime you can eat butter by the blob, it's worth it.

Love you sweetie!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

January 15

What We Ate (while you were gone)

Dear Austin -
The sun never showed his head today and it was chilly. A hot chocolate and sit-by-the-fire-all-day kind of day (for Berkeley wusses like us, that is;-) ). Sealion had the day off, and literally the only time we left the fireside was to pee or refill on warm beverage.  This morning we had cooked-to-order eggs:  Papi - over easy, Jali and I - scrambled.  And Papi's Famous Hash Browns - sweet potatoes and something like Yukon Golds, in the cast iron with bacon grease, of course.

Long naps were taken. The knitting project started.

The day warranted soup ~ as so many do, in my opinion.  I roasted two small delicata squash, a large turnip (my new favorite vegetable!), and a head of garlic with olive oil. I sauteed a large onion and some slices of celeriac, used a quart of our Christmas goose bone broth, a small potato, sea salt and pepper. Sliced the turnip, cut the delicata into big hunks that included the skin, and squeezed the garlic in.  I sliced up two of those Prather Ranch bockworst and fried them so they became tasty little crispy niblets like you showed me.
Oh, Austin. You really missed a fantastic meal. It was phenomenal! That soup ~ incredible !  I spooned up some broth into a little cup for Anjali.  After a sip she took the cup across the room, I think she thought she had happened on the good stuff by accident and didn't want us to take it away once we found out!  She drank it down and asked for helping after helping more!
You know we ate next to the fire!  Set up your little brass-topped table as close to the hearth as we could get it.
So good.

Friday, January 15, 2010

What We Ate (while you were gone)

Dear Austin ~ I hope you don't mind:  I'm using writing you while you are traveling as a way to get on my food blog more often.  When we lived with B & A, we kept a calendar magneted to the fridge and would fill in day by day the meals we created.  It was fun!  For a long while I have wanted to do that on here  ~ to see how we eat as the seasons change, things we cook often and things we should cook more often, to monitor just exactly how much we cook at home (and how much we don't) etc., but just haven't done it.  I think this may be a way.  And a fun way.

January 14, 2010
last night Papi worked an evening shift, so Anjali and i ate by ourselves.
i heated up a pint of spaghetti sauce from the freezer that i had made a while back.  lots of ground beef, lots of sauteed onion, and an undertone of roasted acorn squash.  when i made it originally, i expected the squash to be more of an outspoken flavor, but it simply adds a warm sweetness and thickness.  and we had tinkyada brown rice pasta shells, with plenty of olive oil and butter.  we ate sitting on the floor at the leather coffee table.  anjali went through using every utensil available before settling on her hands to feed me pasta shell after pasta shell.  she gave that corner of the table a much-needed spa treatment with her butter and olive oil handprints.
that one long Indian Raag Kirwani that you never can bear to sit through came on the stereo and i giggled to myself as i listened to it all the way through.  ;-)
i employed your method and your french press to steep my nettle infusion overnight.  thank you!  :-)
the full press of dark dark tea sitting on the counter reminds me of you.