Archive for the ‘salad’ Category

So there were pretty beets at the market. Well, about a week and a half ago… but they’re still in my fridge. And I’d meant to make my usual beet and purple cabbage shred, but there haven’t been any purple cabbage these days. So I’d been pondering what to do with them.

I didn’t want to substitute a different variety of cabbage because the color bleed would be unfortunate. So I’ve just been sitting around with beets and not using them.

I also have in my pantry a package of black rice noodles. I had a plan to use them in some showy way for company… possibly as a cold soba type salad variation.

And then I just sort of played from there.

Cold Black Rice Noodle and Beet Salad

Julienne 4 raw beets (but it could easily have been a few more).

Boil some water

Julienne carrots until you have about a third the quantity of beets. You could also throw in some red bell pepper or cucumber or whatnot.

Cooking the noodles – do not believe the package! The package says to put the noodles into the cold water, bring it to a boil, and then cook for a few minutes. This will lead to mush and tears. Instead, boil the water, turn the heat OFF, then add the noodles (I did two of the little wrapped packages, so that’s about 5 ounces), and within a minute or so they will be plenty soft. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking even though you will lose starch. Actually, for these purposes, there wasn’t much harm in losing the released starch.

Dump the noodles in with the vegetables.

Squeeze 2 limes, add 2 Tablespoons of black vinegar and about an eight of a cup of plain rice vinegar, sprinkle in about 2 teaspoons of brown sugar, and a healthy glug of toasted sesame oil. Mix that all together and see whether it feels like the proper amount of sauciness and whether the tastes are balanced.

Toast some unsweetened shredded coconut, and add it (this really improved the dish!).

And then feel free to go through your cupboards looking for other fun things. The only thing else I added were some toasted almond slivers, but sesame seeds or tofu or more vegetables all would have been good. Cabbage would be a good addition, too.

The end result was charmingly vegan and gluten free, but I was tempted to try adding a splash of fish sauce, and it’s with noting to people with dietary concerns that the noodles contain corn starch.

And now I know what I’ll be taking to the next food blogger pot luck.

Cooking fish is a milestone for me in the land of cooking.

I grew up with a father who did not like fish, not even the smell of it in the house. And since I’ve moved out on my own, I’ve mostly stuck with cheaper meat options (with a goal price point of $2/lb or less – though, yes, I’ve been reconsidering my ethics lately). Also, Philadelphia is not known for its seafood, so I don’t know of a reliable fish monger near me.

But I just happened to be out today in the vicinity of a reputable source of seafood – Ippolito’s – so I stepped in and professed my cluelessness. I did ask for something a little more challenging that a salmon steak, so I ended up selecting a beautiful 18″-ish striped bass. And since I don’t have fish-worth knives at home, I did ask them to filet it for me, but to also include the head, tail, and bones for stock.

Turns out that I only ended up with the meat. I’m a little disappointed, but I suppose that any day I call ahead and go there asking for a bag of random fish scraps, I’ll be able to get them for fairly cheaply… and I wasn’t going back today because it took a lot of looking to find a decent parking spot that wasn’t on a snow emergency route.

So after I did the dishes and cleared a workspace, the first thing I did was open up my packet and fondle my meat. Erm… I mean notice that there weren’t any miscellaneous bits. And then I pulled out only three tiny bones that the store missed. And, yes, my eyes had been right – the flesh felt smooth and supple and there was no fish smell even this close.

So, being an amateur, the first thing I did was to cut the filets down so that one was 4 ounces and the other 3.5 ounces. I did that by trimming off the thinner flaps on the side and down by the tail so that the filets would have a more even thickness. I have no idea whether that is acceptable in formal fish circles or not, but it seemed logical to me.

I then had about 2.5 ounces of very fresh fish to play with.

Ceviche

So I diced the fish finely, slightly less than 1cm x 1cm x .5cm, and I did not bother with removing the skin except in a couple spots where it wasn’t cutting easily.

I added half a jalapeno, minced. And then I added about 2 tablespoons of finely minced red onion. I stirred that about and tasted it.

Oh, right, I was missing the acid – that’s key to ceviche. So I pulled out a lemon and a lime and ending up that I wanted to use the lime. The juice of a whole lime seemed a bit too much after I added it. Hmmm…

I also minced up some fresh flat-leaf parsley (I love the small salad spinner I got for my birthday!). And I added some salt, pepper, and a chunk of gingerj.

Now I think I’ve covered all of the basics of ceviche, but it still wasn’t tasting any good, even after marinating for half an hour. So I started looking around my kitchen – ah, yes, the persimmons.

I diced up one, and even with their odd skin/flesh texture, the persimmon was the perfect answer. Well, I suspect any particularly strong fruit. But instantly (well, with even more salt, too) the flavors came together and the ceviche was tasty.

So I spent the rest of the day googling recipes for striped bass, calling my mother for advice, and seriously pondering the fail-proof parchment method, which showed up in such a timely fashion on my twitter feed.

And then I sucked it up and reminded myself that I had managed to find exceptionally fresh fish, so I’d better just trust my ingredients.

Pan Seared Striped Bass

So I took out a good, thick skillet, and I heated it up fairly high (medium-high, actually, so not as hot as for steak) with a teaspoon of olive oil in the pan.

When hot, I took my nice, even-thickness 4 ounce filet, and lay it down (I put the skin down first). And then I didn’t let myself look at it or poke at it to monitor.

I just waited 3 minutes. And then I sprinkled salt and pepper on the up side, flipped it, and sprinkled the skin side, too.

Ever so slightly more than three more minutes later (I don’t know why I held off, but it seemed right), I served up onto a plate a perfect piece of fish with nice browning on both sides, easy flake, and just oozing juicy tenderness.

I’d say it was as good as the best fish I’ve had in a restaurant. Wow!

I still have one more filet, so I’ll see if I can duplicate my results and call it skill/intuition or if it was just beginner’s luck.

And how did I manage not to poke at the fish? By assembling a salad for the side. This was my second run with this basic salad frame, but the first one was too acidic, so I was more generous this time with the more oily ingredients.

Persimmon & Arugula Salad

Cold parts
2.5 ounces of arugula, washed – and spun!
2 persimmons, cut up and scattered artfully
a dozen dry roasted almonds (unsalted) roughly broken up with a knife
2 ounces of semi-soft mild flavored cheese

Dressing
1/2 tsp brown mustard
1/2 tsp tamarind sauce/chutney
1 tsp white balsamic vinegar

1
Oct

Potato salad – with white or sweet potatoes

   Posted by: Livia

I’ve had potato salads I enjoyed, but I’ve never been all that wild about them. For some odd reason (perhaps novelty), I am loving this new potato salad recipe and I want to make it all the time.

First iteration – white potatoes
I had these potatoes from the farmers’ market – thicker skinned, like baking potatoes, but only about the size of fist. While I was roasting several other things, I popped a couple in to try – and then filled up on the other food and just put the baked potatoes into the fridge.

The next day, the skin was coming away from the flesh, so I peeled them. And then I broke them (for greater surface area) into smaller chunks. I added a small about of brown mustard (maybe 1/4 tsp) and just enough herbed mayonnaise to hold the salad together (herbed mayonnaise is storebought mayonnaise this minced herbs from my garden: rosemary, thyme, savory, chives, and parsley)… and then I looked in my spice cabinet and decided to try Penzey’s Vindaloo spice mix. This mix, despite the name, itsn’t all that hot – it includes: coriander, garlic, cumin, ginger, Korintje cinnamon, crushed brown mustard, cayenne red pepper, jalapeño pepper, cardamom, turmeric, Tellicherry black pepper and cloves.

I loved it and served it over the last of the roquette in the fridge (dressed with a mixture made from heating 1tsp a very sticky sweet lemon curd until liquid and then mixing it with 1 tsp white balsamic vinegar, 2 tsps cider vinegar, and 1 tsp soy sauce). \o/!

Second iterations – sweet potatoes

So there I was roasting things for soup (have I mentioned that the weather changed? YAY!) and I threw in a sweet potato… and then I decided to throw in a few more because the oven was already on and I could try this potato salad recipe again.

So I peeled them… and I waffled over whether or not to include the mustard again because it did have a bit of a kick and the Vindaloo seasoning includes mustard, but I decided that I had liked the mustary/vineragy kick. And I, again, added the 1/4 tsp of brown mustard. This time, I used plain mayonnaise, instead of the one with the herbs. And I was a little bit more generous with the seasoning (not measured, just sprinkled) because I knew I’d like it. And I let it sit overnight because I was making soup and eating other things.

This time, I served it (microwaved briefly, to take the refrigerator chill off) over pea shoots from the Weavers Way stand at the Headhouse Square farmers’ market (using up some of the leftovers of the same dressing I used on the arugula).

I have no idea what variety they are, but the sweet potatoes at my local produce truck recently are this soft, not too fibrous, bright orange things of beauty. I went back and bought another bag of 6 (for $1!) because they were so gorgeous.

Friday
So I called out sick from work on Friday. Yeah. It was lovely.

Basically, I had a food blogger potluck, no food, and performance anxiety. And a plethora of sick days available.

Plan A for food: Pita chips and tzatziki.
I’ve started taking that to almost every pot luck type thing, and I wasn’t feeling it this time. I drained the yogurt, but I didn’t even work up to buying the pita.

Plan B for food: Salsa
I’ve got a butt load of tomatoes from my garden, but, again, I didn’t work up enthusiasm. (It’s okay – I think I’ll work up to it next week or so and then can/jar some)

Plan E for food: So I had a two-week old plan to use up eggplants in my fridge in imam bayildi… and two week old eggplants, which ended up in the compost because they were a little fuzzy. But it was a good plan – and one that would help me with my tomato backlog. So I drove off to one of the big Asian supermarkets in south philly to acquire eggplants (of the variety often found near me, but not when I’m looking for them).

food bloggers potluck
Okay, so let me tell you the genius of using Asian (long, skinny) eggplants for this Mediterranean dish: bite-sized imam bayildi!

Not a big pile of mush! No, these were 4-5cm long segments, each one with it’s own little pocket-forming slit and awesome deliciousness. It turned out just as well as I had planned (and better than I’d feared, the big pile of resulting mush would still have been delicious, though, so no worries). And I got the portion right (about 30 pieces) for the gathering, so there was just enough let over at the end of the evening for a lunch-sized portion for me.

And what do you know – someone else had brought chips and homemade salsas and another person has pitas and dip. No one else had mysteriously delicious eggplant with tomatoes and onions and parsley.

Oh, and I also took a fruit salad which I loved

Fruit Salad

watermelon, hand-picked blackberries, and banana slices that had been dosed in lime juice and ginger juice.

I loved it and thought it needed more of the sauce throughout! Those bananas were yummy.

What else was there?

Teagan brought a pasta salad with mint pesto and an indian string bean and carrot dish with mustard seeds. Oh, and she also had a pumpkin and coconut pudding.

Marisa brought a big jar of pickles with delicious onions.

Someone had a plate of traditional pimento cheese sandwiches. Up here, that is an exotic gourmet treat. Yum!

Messy & Picky brought a tasty and simple corn salad.

North Port Fishington Vegan Cookie Factory brought donuts

Someone made little caprese salads on a stick with grape tomato halves framing little mozzarella lumps and basil

someone brought carnitas

There was a fruit tart.

And the host made tasty peanut butter cookies.

There was socializing.

And then I left.

Saturday
yoga!
pilates!
farmers market! – where I achieved my primary goal of acquiring a lot of dubious peaches.
looking at potential houses…

Meeting up with friends for a game night
I took some more of the same fruit salad (but with a slightly higher ratio of lime/ginger to fruit that for the potluck), but the people trying it this time thought it tasted a bit wonky.

then dinner
a failed quest for ice cream
and home

Sunday
first there was kick ass yoga.
then I went on an emergency quest for pectin (only to be found in solid form at the whole foods)
and did laundry

and then I made jam
and then I made a tonne of peach jam.

I started cutting up and sugaring peaches while I boiled the jars.

first project was re-cooking the white peach with lime and ginger from last time that did not set up properly. I just cooked it down more and added some more pectin from the last packet of liquid pectin. I think it turned out better, but I haven’t tried. it. (yield: 4 – 4oz jars)

second project – was making a non-spicy jam for geeksdoitbetter, but I think the 2 parts fruit to 1 part sugar recipe is a bit too sweet for me, and I like spicy to balance that. Also, I’m actually not a bit jelly person, and I quite like jam from the supermarket. I’m not trying to make something I will enjoy from any ole source, so I might as well get wacky. So a simpler recipe was hard. I ended up adding about 1/4 cup of the cherries we’d picked together and that she’d dried with quite a lot of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and possible allspice. When those cherries were finished, she was quite sure they were way too heavily seasoned, so I only used that many for about 6 cups of fruit and 3 cups of sugar – and then I added cranberries when I decided it was a little too sparsely populated with fruit (if you are going to have random dried fruit chewy bits, then there should be enough to pop up reliably, instead of as surprise chewy). No other seasoning. For this one, I added 3 teaspoons of dried pectin, and it seemed like it was going to set up rather solidly. (yield: 3 – 4oz jars; 3 – 8oz jars)

third project – so then I went looking for savourier options, and started with 5 Spice Powder. A lot of 5 spice powder. And then some ginger juice. And a wee little bit of black pepper sauce. Stir cook stir. And then it didn’t seem to have a distinctive enough flavor, so things went a bit wacky. I added a little rice vinegar and some soy sauce, and then I added some sambal oelek for kick, and the hot version finally tasted right. (yield: 5 – 4oz jars; 3 – 8oz jars)

Fourth project – So I have a coconut, and I was thinking of adding shredded unsweetened coconut meat to one, but at 10pm it was a little much work to start on. So I went for a peach masala theory. I added a lot of Penzey’s garam masala. And I wanted a few more savory notes, so I added a shake or two of Penzey’s Rogan Josh. Oh, and this one got just 1 teaspoon of solid pectin for about 6 cups (maybe more) of peaches. Cook cook stir cook. And then when it was near thick enough, I melted some coconut fat in another pan and fried up a generous quantity of mustard seeds and nigella seeds (and added three drops of mustard oil when the coconut fat seemed to be toasting more quickly than the seeds). Add to jam. This one tasted awesome hot, and I have high hopes for it being my favorite. yield: 6 – 4oz jars; 2 – 8oz jars; and 2 wee tiny jelly jars because I couldn’t bear to leave the little scrapings in the pot to be washed down the drain)

Fifth project – And I liked the peach chipotle jam I made in the first experiment so much, that I tried to replicate that batch. By this point my tastebuds were so blown with sticky peach that I suspect I made it spicier, but hey. Same ingredients at least. (yield: 6 – 4oz jars; 1 – 16oz jar)

project 4.5 and while I had just started cooking down the peaches for batch 5, I threw my Green Tomato Salsa in a pint jar and boiled it for the entire length of the cooking process and all because I couldn’t bear a 6th round of heating stuff before canning it. I’m storing it in the fridge in case that wouldn’t be sufficient to make it shelf stable, but it should at least slow down the aging process. (yes, there’s lots of vinegar in the salsa)

Oh, and I went out to dinner
Oh, and I went out to dinner. With a boy. Yeah, it’s my co-worker on whom I have a vague crush, but I’m pretty sure it’s doomed.

So we tried out the new Tampopo near me. The dumplings were exceptional – with a light skin and filling with flavor. Pan fried to deliciousness. He ordered the hot, spicy tofu – which was tasty. The tofu had nice crispy edges. I ordered hot, spicy squid, and my tentacles were not too chewy. Same sauce really was used for both. And the portions were small, but it was a full meal’s worth and sized right for the price. No service and free water.

And the place was chock full of the most stereotypical west philly people, and I kept getting distracted from my barely coworker level of intimacy conversation by the wacky west philly people discussing their accupuncture and tattoos.

Monday
a little more house shopping before work…

I may have gone a bit overboard at my produce truck and the farmers’ market and berry picking.

Oh, yes, I went berry picking. Food in Jars had a post about local Pick Your Own berry farms, and I was totally sold on the idea. So a friend and I went out to Rowand Farms (no website?) in Glassboro, NJ to acquire cherries and strawberries. I’ve only picked apples before, and cherries are definitely harder – but then moving on to strawberries was like leveling up once more because you really had to look hard to find the pretty ones… plus stooping, but we knew that going in.

Now I have to make plans for all of this food:

Produce
1 nectarine
4 tomatoes
2 bunches of small asparagus
handful of shelling peas
radishes
slightly less than 1lb lettuce
2lbs cherries
3lbs strawberries
3 lemons
5 limes
2 grapefruits
4 rhubarb stalks
turnips galore
1 yellow squash
1 red pepper
1 carrot
1 parsnip
3 rutabagas
1 celeriac root
7 oz kale
1lb spicy mustard greens

ready to be harvested from my garden
radicchio
swiss chard
nasturtium flowers

processed produce
tail end of a jar of salsa
vodka pasta sauce
1/4 cup rice with turmeric, clove, and sundried tomatoes
Thai sweet spicy garlic sauce
chipotle in adobo sauce
jarred crab apples
pineapple juice
orange juice
fermenting peaches

dairy
sour cream
cheddar cheese
1% milk

protein
beef fajita leftovers (about enough for 3-4 quesadillas)
3lb beef roast
4 eggs

So now I need a plan
Monday, June 8
breakfast: 2 quesadillas with leftover fajitas

~*~

roast: foil packets of root vegetables with various spice mixes and garlic; asparagus

dinner: salad w/ half the lettuce, shelling peas (try one to see if they are good popped out, or if they need to be blanched), roasted asparagus, radishes, and nasturtium flowers – dressing: something mild and sweet – white balsamic and apricot jelly?

prep beef: 1/3 slice into thin strips and marinate with pineapple juice, jalapeno, black bean sauce (for stir fry); 1/3 slice into thin strip and marinate with salsa, chipotle, and lime juice (for something involving tortillas); prep the thickest third for roasting (studded with garlic cloves and tuck in some rosemary) and wrap for freezing

Rhubarb – make candied rhubarb and rhubarb syrup for camping

dessert – strawberries and milk

Tuesday, June 9
breakfast – try Kenyan collard green recipe with kale (uses a tomato); eat some strawberries

9am – meet real estate agent to go see a house I can’t afford

~*~

dinner: stir fry marinated beef with asparagus, red pepper, jalapeno, ginger, radishes; also saute some of the spicy mustard greens with garlic to have one the side. Make rice.

strawberries – try making small batch strawberry jam w/ shredded fresh ginger and 1 ground black cardamom jam

salsa – try making salsas from strawberries and cherries

Wednesday, June 10
meet friend for coffee; take radishes and sexy butter.

do I still want breakfast? – rest of the spicy mustard greens made like roman kale

take any remaining berries in to work

~*~

dinner: (psst: you still haven’t eaten your theoretical packets of roasted root vegetables, the yellow squash, maybe a tomato or two, nor the Mexican-ish beef) That could be an interesting start to a cottage pie…

cream cheese – cut some of my fresh herbs to make a cream cheese spread

pack to go camping – take

  • candied rhubard
  • rhubarb syrup
  • limoncello
  • rum
  • scotch?
  • camping cups and dishware
  • herbed cream cheese
  • hot sauce (but not my salsas)
  • if I feel really ambitious I’ll make a batch of raita, but looking at this schedule – I doubt it
  • again if I’m feeling ambitious, perhaps some of this ginger syrup
  • fig newtons
27
May

Another salad – arugula & apricot

   Posted by: Livia Tags: ,

On a base of baby arugula, cut fresh apricots into eighths.

Shave fine slivers of purple onion on top.

And thin slices of sharp cheddar cheese (actually, I think a heady blue cheese would be better, but I didn’t have any).

Toast a handful of almond slivers.

Make salad dressing: dip the tip of a spoon into chipotles in adobo sauce and pull out a little sauce. Then acquire an equal amount of chinese mustard (or more, if yours isn’t spicy enough to clear your sinuses). Mix that together with 2 Tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar and 2 teaspoons of sweet red wine. Taste and make sure the adobo is present but not overpowering, and rebalance as necessary.

Throw toasted almonds on top, dress, and eat.

25
May

Salad time again!

   Posted by: Livia Tags: , ,

I made a nifty salad this weekend.

I started with Dole’s Sassy Baby Blend (not from brand loyalty, but because that was the clamshell salad mix on sale that week. Aside from some (not too many) awkwardly non-baby radicchio bits clearly there to same money, it was a good blend).

Then I tossed in some curly parsley left over from making lasagne.

And I sliced in two round radishes.

Then I wen to work on the dressing –

I tossed in the lemon zest left over from making Smitten Kitchen’s Raspberry Buttermilk Cake (note: both the lasagne & the cake were creations of my friend, so I’m not taking credit for them – but they were both very tasty).

Then I added 2 teaspoons of ginger spread (which I loved so much that I will not have to seek it out and buy my own jar) and some apple cider vinegar. Popped that in the microwave for 30 seconds to liquefy it.

I tasted it, and it needed some sweetness and acidity – So I squeezed in a lemon, and it was just about perfect.

Only then, I thought that the dressing and the salad would go well with apples, so I quartered and cored and apple and then sliced it into some remaining lemon juice.

conclusion: I really liked it, but I probably could have added another apple or two (they were small). It had many sharp tastes of early green Spring, but it tied together well and was mellowed a bit by the ginger and sweet lemon juice.

18
Feb

tomorrow morning

   Posted by: Livia Tags: , , , ,

To Do List

Cooking with Catladies – experiment 1

  • Thai beet slaw/salad (needs a better name)
    • peel and slice thinly 1 beet
    • shred a complementary amount of purple cabbage
    • halve a purple onion and slice one thinly
    • Jalapeno, seeded, sliced into thin matchsticks (core reserved for stock)
    • make dressing of:
      • 1 clove garlic, minced
      • 2 tsp sugar
      • 1 teaspoon vinegar (still haven’t decided between rice vinegar for the thai theme or red wine vinegar for the color theme)
      • juice of 1/2 lime
      • 1 tsp good olive oil
    • toss together with some generous grinds of black pepper
    • give a further toss with 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
    • ETA:decided on 1 teaspoon of each kind of vinegar – needs more lime juice!
  • Thai-inspired chickpea taco filling (version 1)
    • Drain a can of chickpeas
    • fry 1 tsp shredded fresh coconut (no really, from a coconut – no sugar added), purple onion, garlic, ginger, cilantro stems, jalapeno flesh in 1 tsp olive oil.
    • Add half the can of chickpeas, juice of 1/2 the lime, 1 bay leaf, and some lime zest
    • Add a mixture of vegetable stock and water and cook until no longer thin.
  • Thai-inspired chickpea taco filling (version 2)
    • fry 1 tsp fresh coconut in 2 tsp olive oil
    • add 1/2 tsp thai green curry paste
    • Add the rest of the chickpeas and a similar mixture of vegetable stock and water
    • cook until no longer thin
  • ETA: Instead of one or the other, it should be both – add some green curry paste to the first recipe to give it a yummy base flavor. And don’t forget to add a little salt in the cooking

Vacuum floor
Hang up stuff in closet
Clean off kitchen table
1 hr pilates
shower

12
Nov

Playing with eggplant

   Posted by: Livia Tags: ,

So I liked the Imam Bayildi so much that I started making vows such as, “I shall never use any other method to prepare eggplant!”

And I immediately set out to bastardize the recipe. And since they are chinese eggplants I’ve got, I was thinking something vaguely chinese in flavor. Especially since I was reminded of the buttery texture of the stuffed and fried eggplant in black bean sauce at my current asian restaurant.

But I wasn’t about to start messing with pork mince and shrimp… actually, I could even be bothered to thaw a hamburger patty of (nothing but) ground turkey and repurpose it… but I did have a zucchini looking for a home.

So I actually ended up jumping out at bed at 2am after I made the Imam Bayildi to jot down notes for modifying it. But let me spoil the ending of the story and tell you that it just didn’t end up as perfect. I don’t know if it just needs tomatoes to have the perfect synergy of flavors or if it would have been perfect if I’d just added more sugar (or oil!), but I’m still liking the result enough that I will be tinkering with this recipe some more – even the disappointing version is entirely edible.

Tinkered Imam Bayildi

Peel 2 chinese eggplants in stripes, cut in half widthwise, and cut deep slits into each of the 4 pieces. Drop them into a pan with 1 Tablespoon hot oil (see, I’m still trying to minimize the oil, and maybe that’s just going in the face of the whole point of the original recipe), and turn them at intervals until the outside is evenly golden.

Meanwhile, fry cleaned leeks in 2 tsps oil until just starting to brown. (And this here is another place I might need to tinker. See – using all the way up the greens of the leeks was great when I was also capturing the chlorophyll taste of parsley, but it ended up being a bit too much damp green leek in this version. Then again, maybe it would have been better if the leeks had gone into the pan drier (or if there were more oil) – this experiment and reading about Orangette‘s perfectly cleaned and dried leeks has my pondering the purchase of a salad spinner.)

Once the leeks are soft, add minced garlic and ginger. A minute later, add zucchini diced a little smaller that 1cm (so it will stuff inside the eggplant nicely, but not so small that it loses justifiability). Cook just another minute or two longer – maybe with a splash of a stir fry sauce, if you have a good one. I had just finished a bottle, so I did without.

Turn the eggplants so they are slit side up, wiggle a spoon into the slit to open it up, and then stuff with the leek/zucchini. If there is any left, pile it on top.

Mix together – the juice of one lime, 1/2 tsp sugar (I ended up using a teaspoon of the lime simple syrup I had leftover), 2 tsp soy sauce (and I still ended up seasoning both versions with more plain salt while eating, but that might just be me), and 1/2 cup of water. Pour the mixture into the pot with the eggplant, put on the lid, and simmer on low for 45 minutes.

~*~

So, as I said, not perfect – nowhere near as exciting as the original – but still decently tasty.

And then I’ve been using the leftovers.

1 day I microwaved a whole stuffed eggplant piece and wrapped it in a piece of bread and ate it as a sandwich. :)

Another day, I made a salad of spring mix, 1 ounce sharp cheddar cheese pieces, a tomato, and a de-seeded and sliced serrano pepper. Topped that off with microwaved (and sliced into smaller pieces) Imam Bayildi. And dressed it with some balsamic vinegar stirred up with half a teaspoon of dijon mustard.

I think tonight I’ll make a salad with carrots and crispy noodles and top it with one of the modified versions (and dress it with black vinegar mixed with a 1/4 teaspoon chinese mustard).

29
Oct

food list

   Posted by: Livia Tags: , ,

food I have
Produce
5oz package of lettuce
brussel sprouts
2 small/medium zucchini
4 limes
1 lemon
carrots
1 red and 1 orange aging bell peppers
fennel (fronds and half a roasted bulb)
hot peppers galore
4 chinese eggplant
1/2 pound snowpeas
chinese broccoli
coconut milk
6 Seckel pears
red and green tomatoes
1 onion
2 apples
2 butternut squash – still maturing

Meat
3 ounces chicken, cooked in green curry paste and coconut milk
jam jar of condensed chicken stock

Starch
cooked brown rice
loaf of spelt bread

so what am I going to do with that?
Meals
Wednesday, October 29
Salad. Because a) I had 2 croissants today, so I’ll want something filling that’s not too high on calories; and b) While the lettuce looks good on the outside still, it’s already old enough that the center is a mess of badness. I am only expecting to salvage 1 salad worth of greens. So what else? I should use the fennel… so that should go with fruit, I think. So pears. And fennel. And Almonds. And some slices of raw zucchini. Why not? Maybe the dressing should have lemon zest and/or juice… and pomegranate molasses… and that’ll be pretty tart, so honey and red wine, both. And then a vinegar… white wine balsamic. Any spices? little bit of nutmeg, probably a clove would be too strong… nor 5 spice because that already has a licorice flavor. Ummm… Cheese! It needs a gorgonzola. I only have cheddar in the house right now. So between now and when I go home, I’ll need to decide if it needs a cheese enough to stop at a store and buy some special. With spelt bread on the side.

ETA: So the salad turned out delightful, so I thought I’d revise with that I actually did. No fennel. No zucchini. No pomegranate molasses. No gorgonzola. So a little different from what I planned. On the other hand, the salad greens are in pristine condition, so I foresee another salad in my future.

So

Main body of the salad
spring mix (and I hate to admit it, but I’m liking the lettuce I get in the spring mix packs from my local supermarket more than I like the mix in the packs carried by whole foods – yay, canada)
snow peas (so crisp – I was walking by the produce vendors in chinatown and had to stop when I saw the pretty peas. It’s good to know that they actually are as good as they looked from a distance)
2 pears, cut into quarters, the core cut out, and then halved across
thin slices of my garlic and chive cheddar
toasted almond slivers
and slices of a red jalepeno pepper (no seeds)

Dressing
1 tsp red wine (Manischewitz, as always)
juice of half a lime
2-3 tsp white balsamic vinegar
…and then I didn’t want to use honey. It just didn’t feel right.
So I made a simple syrup from the lime-and-grapefruit-zest-infused sugar I had lying around the house. And I added that until the dressing tasted right – about 4-5 teaspoons

And the pears I don’t use, I could just trust that I’ll eat them all up – not a hardship. Or, I could try to pickle them out of curiosity.

Thursday, October 30 – I’m working 9-5 this day!
If I wake up early enough, there should be breakfast – stone ground oatmeal with brown sugar, apples, dates, and a splash of cream. I’ve been wanting it for about 4 days now, and I finally have the pot clean and the apples ready. In fact, all of the ingredients are already laid out together on my counter just waiting.

Dinner – Since I have pilates 5:45-6:45 and belly dancing 7:30-9pm, I think I’ll try to get out during the break and grab one of the famed vegetarian hoagies at Fu Wah.

Friday, October 31 – wear a costume to work?
8:30am pilates
do laundry!
breakfast – sweet sticky coconut rice (try making it with saffron!)

dinner – If the bell peppers are still good, they’ll need to be used up next. And I have snow peas. And eggplant. Maybe half of the snow peas and 2 of the eggplants… with thai green curry and coconut milk. Top with slices of red jalepeno.

Saturday, November 1
breakfast – bacon, onions, and brussel sprouts – seasoned with mustard, fennel, and nutmeg. Give it a taste, maybe add a tomato and/or poach an egg on top. And serve on slices of spelt toast.

Make stock.

dinner – using up the rest of the eggplant and the zucchini. Oh, and probably snow peas as well. I’d usually go asian with that… but I how about italian? Something primavera-ish? Huh – I might still have some homemade pesto in the freezer. OOooo! I know I have some ice cubes of cilantro. How about putting it on soba noodles and making it, still asian inspired, but not what I usually cook. I can think about this for a bit.