.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Musgovian Vegetable, Noodle, and Sausage Soup

I just had a clean-out-the-fridge (on rec.food.cooking we call this "Musgovian" - must-go) soup that was incredibly delicious but probably not reproducable. The principles, however, are good.

On Friday I made the Chicken in a Pot from Dorie Greenspan's excellent "Around My French Table". That, in itself, was an excellent exercise in Fridge Management because it gave me something to do with all the sweet potatoes and carrots that have been accumulating in the farm box. (Short answer: roast them in a well-sealed French oven with a chicken, a preserved lemon, some onions and celery, a little liquid, and a lot of garlic.) I had about a cup of delicious, delicious juices in the fridge (with more than a hint of sweet potato) from this endeavor.

I had a small bowl of rotelle and a couple of Italian sausages left over from a dinner last week. I originally planned to use the juices in an Italian-style sausage, noodle, and vegetable soup similar to what a church friend made for our retreat. But, alas, my bell pepper had to be consigned to compost.

So I abandoned plans for carrot-bell pepper-celery-onion and decided to use the farm box golden beets with carrot and celery. But look, there are some mushrooms that really need to be used. And didn't I get a leek and green garlic in the farm box? So I chopped up the carrots, celery, leeks, and beets, sauteed them, sliced up the mushrooms and green garlic, and last of all cut the sausages into usefully small bits. I wilted everything (the mushrooms and green garlic went in after the sausage) and got the sausage bits well on the way to "cooked". Then the leftover broth/juices went in, with the noodles. It simmered for about half an hour.

Deeeelicious. Slightly saltier and more peppery than my regular taste (I had seasoned the veggies after browning, not realizing how salty my leftover broth was) but it seemed to have positive effects on my suffering sinuses.

The next roast chicken will probably have sweet potatoes and butternut squash roasted with it, but I'll definitely save the juices for sooooooup, glorious soup.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tim Tams in Heaven

Well, as I just finished writing that last post musing about friends who had passed untimely, I got a call from a friend saying that one of our mutual friends, one of the leading lights of the http://www.ship-of-fools.com forums, had died unexpectedly.

Erin loved Tim Tams - she considered the poor availability of them in the US a sign of degeneracy in the nation - so I'm reprising one of my greatest hits for her: How to Eat A Tim Tam. http://loveandcooking.blogspot.com/2004/10/how-to-eat-tim-tam.html

BTW, you might find them in the States as "Arnott's Biscuits", at Cost Plus World Market and other fine stores. I didn't have a chance to get them before a memorial get-together; we had Irish coffee (with lots of Irish) at Brennan's in Berkeley instead.

Labels: , ,

Monday, January 03, 2011

This time for sure, Rocky!

Has it been almost three years since I've updated? It feels like longer. I *have* been There and Back Again, through the lands of Overworked then Unemployed, dead cameras, dead dishwasher, dead fridge, and too many dead friends. I think of Leila (http://bedouina.typepad.com/) every time I make hummus. I could help feed a funeral crowd, and last January I made chili mac for 140 with exactly 2.5 helpers, but I had trouble feeding myself.

But I've got a new camera, and a job with a saner schedule, and have started puttering around in the kitchen more, so it looks like it's time to dust off the old Blogger account.

Best purchase in the interval: a crock-pot with a timer and a removable, dishwashable insert. Great for both work days and hot cereal in the morning.

Comments are captcha'd and moderated. I have been clearing off a lot of spam.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Food Bank Fun

Since most of my friends and I are not much in the Football Fan department, my big foodie weekend was the weekend before the Superbowl, where I did a lot of the food production for our Annual Meeting. (More later on our easy pizza dough recipe, and mini-quiches with puff pastry crusts. Those latter are definitely a "party in your pantry" as they can be cooked from frozen.)

This past week, I heard of an emergency call for help from the Alameda County Community Food Bank. They needed volunteers to sort and box Food Drive food.

So off I went, in the rain and cold. I went in the afternoon, so I could go to the Farmer's Market in Berkeley (where I saw Derrick, Melissa, and Marc).

It wasn't as efficient as when the process-oriented food bloggers helped out at the San Francisco Food Bank (seriously, for that kind of thing, it helps when an engineer is looking at it and giving orders ;), nor was sorting through the bins nearly as much fun as about twenty people all pitching rotten oranges at the "compost" bin. (wheeee!) But we got fourteen pallets of boxes done in our afternoon shift, and made a significant dent in the Food Bank's "food that needs to be boxed up" supply.

The ACCFB's "Food Drive" containers are winery crates ('cuz they're available cheap, or are donated, and are a nice consistent size) that are taped up and filled with a variety of food. There was a real variety in the bins. Most of it was great for the boxes (tuna, peanut butter, rice, beans, canned veg), some of it got pulled out for the salvage aisles for the member agencies (finding a #10 can of tomato sauce made me find the supervisor and ask), some of the packages were damaged so we dumped the contents in a pig slop bin (those will be happy, well-fed pigs), and some of it was "WTF?". As one example - I pulled out a bag that had two partially-eaten large bags of chips in it. I appreciate the charitable impulse, but, really, WTF? Those went into the pig bin.

We also got a large number of bags of Indian groceries that looked perfectly fine but were not commercially labelled - we pulled those out for agencies, but they couldn't go in the boxes.

As an asides, my phone number is on the new church web site somewhere as some sort of emergency food contact. I get odd calls at odd times about food donations and stuff. The most recent one was "can I donate expired cans somewhere?" and my answer was "I sure wouldn't". My rule was "If I wouldn't eat it myself, or serve it to guests, I'm not fobbing it off on the poor, either." Now I know definitely that the FB will pitch expired cans. :)


Saturday, January 26, 2008

A good reason to Buy Local

I have a young friend at the church who is allergic to dairy. His name is Patrick and he is in first grade. He is a good kid and a pretty good sport about things. I have started using Earth Balance in some of my baking so he can have something to snack on. (I have also learned what common kid snacks have dairy in them or not. I can report that Nilla wafers are safe for the Sunday school.) I also passed along the Lenten Chocolate Cake recipe to his folks.

When I was chatting with his mom at a Christmas party, I got good news: Patrick is only allergic to *cow* milk.

So he can eat goat cheese and yogurt and other good things like that. They are regular customers at the Redwood Hills Farms booth at the Berkeley Farmer's Market.

Hearing about Redwood Farm's generosity to my friend Patrick inspired me to visit the stall when I was finally well enough to get to the market today. I bought some feta (I'm making pizza for the annual meeting and if Paddy shows up I want him to be able to eat some) and a yogurt, just to try it out.

And you know what? When he heard I was a Friend of Patrick, he gave me an extra goat yogurt ... for Patrick.

Isn't that great!?! Support your local farmer's market!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

I'm trying to get back more in the blogging habit in 2008, so expect more regular updates.

I've got the monster sinus thing that seems to be running around, so a lot of my diet recently has been Chicken Soup, Tea, and Toast. After I do some decluttering (I think I'm up for a short round of kitchen clean-up before the next meds-and-nap cycle), I might make my cross between minestrone and Italian wedding soup - chicken broth, meatballs, and lots of chopped chard with traditional minestrone veg. I get the low-sodium broth and the meatballs from Trader Joe's (and sometimes the chopped chard!) so it goes together in a flash. Of course it would be completely sublime if you have real chicken broth, but it's pretty good for Good Dinner Fast.

If I am still feeling good after the soup, I might try baking the spaghetti squash I got from Pedrick Produce in Dixon, where I like to stop for Valley-fresh, Valley-priced produce after visiting my parents. (Winter squash, and how to fix it in ways I like, was my big discovery of the fall of 2007.)

Trader Joe's also gets my gratitude for saving me the effort of putting together my tradtional New Year's Day eats with its Spanish lentil dish pre-made. I had the jambalaya-in-the-pouch with it and it had black-eyed peas, so I'm hoping that's double money ju-ju for 2008. (I need it!)

I have three major food goals for 2008:

- Get my "wasted food" level way the heck down.
- Keep up with "Strive for Five" (servings of produce)
- Eat more beans in an effort to both save money and lose weight. (I lost 20# on a "Bean soup for lunch" diet, and it's high time for me to do it again.)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

... tap, tap ...

Is this thing on?

Well, I have now joined the ranks of the "cool kids" and become the Featured Local Blogger in a news feature. I was interviewed by the Oakland Tribune for their piece on vegan cooking. The featured recipe was Josephine's Lenten Chocolate Cake, from Sam's"I can't believe I ate vegan!" IMBB contest.

It's not a full-on book tour (with segment on the Today Show!), a full above-the-fold pic in the Chron like Sam, a photo spread/byline in the NYT (like the ever-fabulous Pim), or an appearance on a nationally-syndicated NPR program (say hi to Clotilde, Pim, and Guy), but I still feel "special".

I also learned that there is a vegan donut shop in Berkeley now - it's in part of the old Eclair bakery on Telegraph just south of Dwight. Charlotte Bob plans to check it out.

Labels: , ,

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Easter Run-Up

12 dozen peanut butter cup cookies - done, to be delivered to church tonight

4 dozen mini-quiches (asparagus and goat cheese) - done, to be delivered

(Why, yes, all the pans I found myself with after Christmas have come in handy.)

Banana bread - in progress (raisins done, bananas defrosted, might do tonight or tomorrow am)

Punch materials - purchased

Before I leave tonight:

start boiling eggs for hard-boiled eggs and fridge

Still to make:

hummus for roll-ups
roasted peppers for roll-ups
roll-ups (ham and chutney, hummus and roasted red bell)
hard-boiled eggs

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

New Favorite

For years, I have been going to the Homemade Cafe in Berkeley, and not even bothering to look at the menu, because I know what I want.

Huevos Rancheros.

Two eggs on a tortilla over easy, topped with cheese, guacamole, sour cream, and salsa.

Served with spicy black beans, some more tortillas, and a pile of the best homefries in town.

I would waddle back home, contented, and not need to eat for the rest of the day.

I went less after I figured out how to make it for myself. Except for the homefries part, but I could deal with some things in order to not have to hassle with the usual weekend wait.

Yesterday when I went in, though, I was extra-double-plus jonesing for potatoes, and I was open to the possibility of something else, because the potato portion with the huevos had shrunk somewhat over the years. That, or I'm just what Bud Trillin might call "a big hungry girl" these days, because I used to not be able to eat it all and had to take the extra beans-n-taters home for breakfast the next day.

I saw the specials board: EGGS BENEDICT, FLORENTINE, OR BENJAMIN $8.50

After determining that "Benjamin" (smoked salmon) was not what I wanted, and that homefries did indeed come with it, I ordered the Florentine. (Eggs Benedict usually means "sub-par bacon/ham" to me.)

Two perfectly poached eggs on a bed of fresh spinach and mushrooms, with tomato slices on the side, COVERED in Hollandaise. Reminded me of Vera's in Seattle, where M and I ate a lot, where the sauce pooled on the plate. Yum.

And a veritable mountain of homefries. Between the produce on the muffins and the taters, it almost qualified as your five servings of fruit and veg on one plate. Bliss.

I couldn't finish it! Guess what I'll be ordering if I see it again there.

(Instead of trying to catch up on all my activities since I last blogged, I'm just going to post what I can, and hang the dates. Otherwise I would just get too overwhelmed. So some posts are going to be seriously out-of-synch.)

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Food Bloggers' Picnic, and more

Before I completely forget here, I was part of the Second Annual Food Blogger's Picnic. It was at the fab Owen's house in Lafayette - pool, deck, the works.

I was a bit tired because I had gotten very sunburned at the Giants game the day before (how often do people get sunburned in San Francisco, eh?) and had done coffee hour at the church that morning.

I brought Kahlua truffles, and they unfortunately melted in the heat after a certain time. (I scalded some more cream and mixed it in the leftovers..)

The food, and the company, was fabulous.

Pictures here (thanks pengrin) (I got there late ... now I see why Guy was teasing Sam about "muffins"), a nice writeup by Sam, the always delightful Bunrabs, Kim, Amy, and Shuna.

It was great to schmooze with people. I renewed acquaintance with people I had met previously and met some new folks. Amy, when she learned that I had been surviving off Trader Joe's due to illness, reminded me that I should blog Trader Joe's. Point taken. I will say that the delicious pan bagnat at the event inspired me to make my own on Monday night, although I was a bit tired after making peanut butter cup cookies, banana bread and a blueberry lemon bundt cake I found on epicurious for coffee hour. And scooping the truffles.

This week has unfortunately seen a return of my, erm, need to consume plain food but I have been enjoying tomato sandwiches and various things on herb foccacia (bought at TJ's).

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

sheeee's baaaaack

I have had many food-related adventures in the last almost two months.

I had my first frybread and a kick-ass green chile burger in Santa Fe.

Peaches and tomatoes are in the market. Which I have started going to again.

I had some New York style pizza that made me aware of what the damn fuss was about.

I met Clotilde of Chocolate and Zucchini on her whirlwind US road trip. (Yes, she is as lovely and charming as she appears. And Maxence is a great guy.)

But I've been Too Damn Tired to blog about it.

I did, however, wish to inform the world of something.

For the first time in a very long time, I messed up the kitchen on the night after my cleaners came. By cooking. I even pitted olives.

I took a picture of what I made.

I'll post it later, when I feel like editing and uploading it.

But I wanted to say ... Brain is working along normal directions.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Bites and Nibbles

I am still not cooking much, although I have ventured into the area of preparing some (very basic) food for myself. I'm almost back up to something resembling "real" food prep. (Trader Joe's has really been my friend lately.)

A few observations:

I went to Poulet on Shattuck for the first time in forever because Shuna is doing the desserts there these days. I missed out on the caramel cake (that would have been a great way to go off the no-sugar wagon) but the lemon cream was great. I also liked the classic chicken salad.

My crispy Baja taco search in the area is over: La Calaca Loca is it.

Another thing that Bake Sale Betty does to perfection is toasted pecan shortbread.

I was glad I made the effort to make a whackload of truffles for Dave's visit, as that meant I had some left over when Elissa came.