Posts Tagged ‘brassicae’

I’ve been trying to be thrifty this week. I had to buy tables so I could invite people over for a Passover seder.

But I lucked out last Friday to find leftover crudite from some workplace event put out in the staff room. And I had empty lunch containers at the right time, too. I acquired cauliflower, broccoli, grape tomatoes, orange bell pepper, mushrooms, baby carrots, and a decorative yellow chile.

Breakfast Mushroom Sautee

So the mushrooms were something I wanted to eat for breakfast. So I made half a slice of bacon, removed it to drain and left the fat in the pan to cook the rest.

I turned the halves of mushrooms into slices and then sliced up the yellow pepper and an onion. They went in onions, then mushrooms, then pepper. As it was cooking, I cut in some fresh rosemary.

And then I just stirred it until the mushrooms released liquid and then browned a bit.

I spooned this over top a fried egg on toast, and it was enough to have covered 2 or 3 eggs, but I still had my spoon and just went ahead and ate it directly without company.

I didn’t know what to do with the cauliflower, until I remembered the remains of the Saint Agur I’d been thinking would melt into a nice pasta sauce. I also had a random jar of hot pepper garlic pasta sauce that my parents hadn’t gotten around to using, so had passed on to me. And I’m just going to take a moment to give this a review on its own. That jar is not pasta sauce. It might be the random oddly-sized scraps of garlic and hot pepper (red, decently thick fleshed), having been left over from making a pretty jar of pickled peppers, that you decided to put into a jar with some oil… but it is not sauce. It’s a bit harsh. I have a very sturdy constitution, and it was threatening me with heartburn. So it’s an ingredient… a way overpriced one… but it’s not what it claims to be. Luckily, I was just using it to perk up the cheesiness – unluckily, I hadn’t realized how much oil I’d be unable to avoid adding on top of the cheese. Should you try this, just cut up some garlic and hot peppers on your own.

Spicy Cauliflower Penne

Start the water boiling and just start the cauliflower cooking when you put in the pasta – this isn’t going to take much more than the 9-10 minutes the pasta cooks. I think this dish is well suited to a whole wheat or spelt pasta.

Cut up an onion, and got that started in a teaspoon of olive oil.

Then I went through the cauliflower and barely broke it down even more – into a fork-friendly size – and added any extra stem bits into the pan right away to give them more time to cook. Then I turned the heat higher than medium and added the cauliflower, looking to get it softer and a bit browned without actually making it limp.

When the vegetables are two minutes from the right consistency, turn down the heat and add the cheese in clumps. Stir them in to melt evenly. And here I added some of the hot pepper garlic ‘sauce’ and stirred that in – about 2 teaspoons or so, draining out as much of the oil as possible. It benefited from some black pepper ground on top, too.

Then I used a slotted spoon to shift the al dente penne to the cauliflower and stir it in so that it was coated with sauce and absorbed that for the last bit of its time and sucked in flavor, too.

And then I ate most of the broccoli dipped into hummus, but I had a few pieces left when I was trying to decide how to use up the rest of the vegetables. While looking in the fridge, I noticed I still had a partial can of red thai curry paste waiting for use. Perfect! It was only after I started cutting that I noticed just hot very orange this dish was going to be – at least there were a few broccoli pieces to add a little contrast. Actually, that shocking bit of contrast looked amazing on the plate.

Carrot Red Thai Curry

Rice: 1/2 cup short grain rice; 1 cup water; pinch of salt; 1/2 tsp coconut cream – boil, reduce heat to low and cover for 20 minutes.

Curry – wait until there’s only 10 minutes (or less, but I have no patience) left on the rice before starting to cook.

6 ounce cans of coconut milk are the best thing for the single cook!

Shake the can until it sloshes (keeps the fat from sticking to the lid and sides) before opening, and then pour it into your pan to heat. Once the oil starts pooling at the top, add about a third of a pound of baby carrots, sliced in half.

Cook for a few minute before adding the curry paste – 2-3 teaspoons, stirring in and tasting between each addition.

Add the broccoli.

And then add a(n orange) bell pepper, cut into 1 x 4 cm strips).

Stir to coat and cook evenly. When the bell peppers just start to look no longer raw, take them off the heat and you’re ready to plate.

This made two portions.

I’d put the second portion in my freezer and gone out to the porch to eat, when one of my new neighbors came by and asked if I’d made enough for two since she was very hungry. I’d expected her to end up disappointed either because of the lack of protein or the spiciness level, but she came back full of compliments with my container empty.

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food list

   Posted by: Livia    in Food, lists, non-vegetarian, Recipe, soup, Uncategorized, vegetarian

I ended up acquiring an abundance of food over the weekend (leftovers from my mother, a tempting farmers’ market, and a delightful cheese exchange – oh, and amazing fruitcake in the mail), so roasting is postponed.

Well, at least the part where I crack open the butternut squash… I am still looking longingly at the uncaramelized garlic and onions and things. Soon.

But my larder has an abundance, so that calls for a list to make sure everything is properly savored.

Food I have
1 hachiya persimmon
2 quinces
6 large red potatoes
cherry tomatoes (from neighbor’s tomato plants)
2 red and 3 green tomatoes (from mother’s tomato plants)
mixed tomatoes (adopted from friend’s refrigerator)
1 green cauliflower
4 radishes
1 sunchoke / Jerusalem artichoke
3 carrots
carrot greens
2 small leeks
hot peppers galore
4 limes
small chinese cabbage
3 parsley roots
1 rutabega

orange juice
vegetable stock
most of a can of coconut milk (full fat)

leftover cooked vegetables (from a restaurant)
creole seasoned creamy corn sauce (from a restaurant)

smoked aged local cheddar
Prima Donna
a blue cheese
store brand extra sharp cheddar
cream cheese
2% milk
plain yogurt

filet mignon leftovers
chicken raft leftovers
and one of the leftover containers from my mother looked like she accidentally gave me some of her concentrated ground beef cooked down with onions and tomatoes for filling lasagna.

chicken stock

red beans made with pork

Meals to make with that
I’ll make some carolina rice and freeze up the beans in lunch-sized portions

And then I want to make a bunch of small batches of soup –

  • I bought the carrots for the carrot greens so I could see what they were like in my standard asian pork, greens, and noodles soup ETA: Done. Ummm… not as exciting as I’d hoped. It just tasted like its component parts and the greens never melted into the soup flavor. I have a leftover portion, so maybe they’ll end up better.
  • While this recipe for Jerusalem artichoke soup with lemon and saffron sounds exciting, I think I’d rather try my first introduction to this tuber more simply… I’m a little worried, though, that most recipes seem to call for 3 parts potatoes to 2 parts jerusalem artichoke. Do you think that’s because the flavor is too strong (probably not, since they can be eaten raw) or because of the expense? I’ll let you know how it goes. ETA: Oooo – or I could turn it into risotto!
  • Carrot Ginger Coconut Milk Soup (inspired by Orangette’s travels, possibly with this recipe as a starting point)

I still want to roast the cauliflower. I think that would tumble well with some of the tomatoes.

And I have a hankering for pasta. Possibly tossed with blue cheese and toasted pine nuts. But that’s not an efficient use of ingredients. I might have to use some of the blue cheese with the roasted cauliflower to make sure I get to it while it’s still tasty… hmmm.. or the cheese and cauliflower could add to the list of soups.

These Poached Quines will finally give me a use for my vanilla sugar.

I’ll probably make a colcannon type think with the parsley root and the kale. Or maybe the rutabega.

And as soon as I finish gobbling up the rocket with nibbles of the local smoked cheddar cheese, I’ll start making kale, tomato, and poached egg breakfasts.

So there are ideas maximizing the combinations, but now I have to figure out a schedule and get to it in time.

Which means I need to head home and make myself some dinner.

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So I went to the new (to me) farmers’ market, and now I have even more food.

This market had parsnips, which I recently noticed had been sadly lacking from my local sources. And there was a guy with a huge pile of purple cauliflower and romanesco. But I think I’ll be sticking to my regular market, since this one was clearly catering to a more affluent crowd – so I bought brandied duck sausage from Talula’s Table.

And I have just now for the first time discovered the amazingness of home popped popcorn. And my first recipe was brilliant (grate lime zest and cheddar cheese (finely) into the bowl. Sprinkle in chipotle. Pop popcorn. Immediately after, dump into bowl and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle with salt. Now I want to eat that all the time and ignore the vegetables.

Food I have
3 butternut squash (the largest one might be mature enough to crack open in a week)
1 delicata squash
2 apples 1 apple
red & green tomatoes
lots of hot peppers
6 carrots with their greens
12 radishes with their greens
salad greens
chinese broccoli
snow peas
2 leeks 1 leek
fennel greens
jar of coconut milk
1 lemon
3.5 limes
4 2 chinese eggplants
1 zucchini
2 parsnips
brussel sprouts
1 red bell pepper
no onions! plenty of onions
5 qts of vegetarian stock

1/4c cooked brown rice

small jar condensed chicken stock
2 duck sausages
lots in freezer

Meal planning
Sunday, November 2
Microwave brussel sprouts and then roast them with bacon and an apple. Grill up sausage on the side.

ETA: So lots of people are RIGHT on the internet. Roasted brussel sprouts do turn out much better, if you microwave them first. That was a complete success.

Caramelized Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Apples

Cut the bases off the sprouts so that you can pull off the outermost leaves and get down to the tightly packed, clean leaves. Then cut each on in half, bisecting the base. Dump them all in a container and microwave (1 pt was quite happy with 3 minutes).

Cut two slices of bacon into 1cm strips. Put them in a skillet (not a roasting pan for the oven because I like being able to watch my food cook) on medium-high heat. When the bacon is thoroughly limp and just going opaque again, add the brussel sprouts.

Once the sprouts are brighter green, add half of a crisp, tart apple, medium-small dice. I left the peel on (and just ate the other half).

Mix together: 1 tsp dijon mustard, 2 tsp balsamic vinegar, and 2 tsp maple syrup.

Once the apples start to get some nice brown color, drizzle the sauce on top by spoon until it sizzles and softens and just looks right without having any liquid that isn’t absorbed by the food.

Monday, November 3
pilates 9am
buy onions
Make Spicy Parsnip Soup
breakfast – saffron coconut sticky rice *done*
Dinner: Spicy Parsnip Soup (ETA: The only changes I made were adding a little bit of buckwheat honey to bring out the sweetness of the parsnips and I used nonfat yogurt instead of sour cream because that was what I had – very delicious)

Tuesday, November 4
breakfast: Pesto Carrot Egg breakfast (uses carrots, red bell pepper, spinach chinese broccoli, and eggs)
dinner – salad with radishes, carrots, and a steamed chinese eggplant in oyster sauce

Wednesday, November 5
breakfast: bagel (mix cream cheese with thai green curry paste and see if that’s any good)
9:30 gym
dinner: Boil stock and make a soup with fish sauce, soy sauce, soba noodles, frozen roast pork leftovers, the rest of the chinese broccoli, 2 radishes, and the carrot greens. Top with toasted garlic and hot pepper (and snow peas)

Thursday, November 6
working 9-5
grab free breakfast @ Faculty Club
5:45 pilates
dinner: tofu hoagie (ask for half tofu and more filling)
7:30 belly dancing class

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Assorted Miscellany

   Posted by: Livia    in Recipe, soup

Have satisfied my lingering craving for fish.

Someday I’ll have to figure out a good place to buy fish on a day when I’ll be headed straight home after I hit the place – and then I’ll just have to suck it up and start cooking it enough to get comfortable with the process. At least I like fish in a wide range of donenesses.

There was all you can eat sushi last week and then salmon when I went to see my grandmother over the weekend. The visit went well. Sadly, we weren’t able to schedule a bridge game.


Chinatown bus went smoothly this time. On the way back, I even had a pair of seats all to myself. I have discovered that a pomegranate, despite being weird, is the best buss food ever… well, if you’re me: because of the way the sectioning works, you can pop off a chunk at a time and put the rest in a container; it’s a filling food that takes a while to eat, so it can fill the entire chunk of time between boarding and getting on the Turnpike without filling you up; picking apart a pomegranate satisfies all of those obsessive urges like wiggling a loose tooth and figuring out just the right angle for slow pressure that will pop the section off cleanly while crushing the fewest peripheral seeds – almost as good as a video game; and it’s all kinds of feminine mythological, so there.


I am still trying to finish the worst book on Roman food I have ever read. I skipped half a dozen chapters in the middle because I just can’t stand the writing, but I want to finish it so I can write up a proper review… and you never know that he won’t same something fascinating as soon as I stop looking.


So when I was getting dressed yesterday, I decided I wanted to check and see whether or not my professional-wear would still fit, so I tried on one of my newest acquisitions – a black/white checked skirt. It was too long, but still wearable (should be hemmed 6-8″ so that it hits mid-calf)… and just barely small enough to still fit. I’m not sure whether I should have it tailored or donate it. But I wore it to see how much the size affected wear, and I paired it with a bright red sweater/shell-type thing. I had not thought about the consequences of wearing bright red during the world series. Apparently, the consequences are that you have to have several cheerful conversations with random strangers on the street.


It was raining and cold when I went home, so I made myself some soup.

Warmed some of the stock I had condensed.

Added 1 tsp soy sauce (because it’s homemade stock, and so it has no salt) and 1 tsp fish sauce.

dumped in about 2 ounces of buckwheat (soba) noodles.

And then I had picked up some chinese broccoli on my way back through chinatown, so I rinsed a few bundles, cut them into coarse (1″) slices, and added them to the soup.

And then here’s the awesome part – in a separate pan, I heated 1 teaspoon sesame oil. And then I sliced 3 cloves of garlic and toasted them in the oil. I also sliced thinly (no seeds) a red jalepeno pepper and tossed that in once the first side of the garlic slices had browned.

This topped the soup.


Bought a basket on Etsy. Sort of accidentally… I asked if it was possible to modify the shape of another one to make it a size for storing onions, and then she up and made it right away. But it’s gorgeous and fits in my cabinet perfectly. Now I need to find a scrap of cloth and line it because the whole reason I was looking for an onion basket was so that I’d have fewer onion peel crumbs filling up the bottom of the cabinet. Oh, and I need to buy more onions, too, as I’m down to just one.


Speaking of buying produce, I think I’ll skip my local farmers’ market this weekend so that I can try out a new (to me) one on Sunday that a few of the food blogs talk about (one because she sometimes vends there).


Argh. And I need to spend more money this weekend. The walk to work this morning (42F raining) proved that I need to hurry up with the acquiring of everyday footwear that is not sandals.

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food food food

   Posted by: Livia    in Food, lists

food I have
6 potatoes
1 head of garlic (roasted) + plenty raw
1 huge butternut squash (possibly ripening, possibly rotting – it was cracked when first harvested)
1 orange and 1 apple
3 nectarines
1 tomato
hot peppers galore
bag full of small bok choi (when I find a more accurate term, I’ll change this)
small amount of chinese broccoli
spring mix lettuce
3 grapefruits
3 cucumbers
1 calabash?
lemons & limes
partial leeks
roasted vegetables: 2 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, 2 red peppers

pork and cow bean chili
roughly 2 oz of thinly sliced beef
1 lb tofu (sealed package) (half marinated for spicy tofu, half marinated for Martha Stewart recipe)

Making meals
Tuesday, September 9 *done*
Gai Lan with beef (and leeks)

Wednesday, September 10
have company
fry up potatoes, onions, garlic, hot peppers, and tomato in curry powder. (see if I can stop by indian grocer and pick up fenugreek to make it closer to this recipe
Freeze into lunch portions, and then dump some onto lettuce for a salad – with a cucumber!

* Start stock *done*

Thursday, September 11
Baby bok choi – in something. How about with my signature spicy tofu stir fry? (Therefore, I’ll have to remember to put the tofu to marinate before work – no problem) That should do about half of the greens

*strain stock *done*

freeze chili into lunches

Friday, September 12
Sauteed tofu and greens (And I am kind of sad that the Martha Stewart variation won out over the Gourmet version)

So, yeah, again with setting up the marinade before work

Saturday, September 13
So I’ll go exercise, and then I’ll go to the farmers’ market, and then I’ll come home with a whole bunch of fresh greens (but nothing else because everything else I can get elsewhere cheaper) (well, maybe some more of the adorable baby yellow squash, if they’re there)

Split open butternut squash and see whether it looks tasty. If so, roast it, scoop out the innards, and then set it to making soup. Oh, wait, that means I need stock.(*)

If calabash is still perky, make that roman recipe with it.

Buy yogurt. Make tzatziki.

Make a half measure of muhammara (I blame [redacted] for the temptation).

Buy pita and make a feast of roasted squash, muhammara, and tzatziki. (and calabash on the side)

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I like salads

   Posted by: Livia    in non-vegetarian, Recipe, salad, vegetarian

Okay, so I haven’t been giving you all recipes for salads, but let me tell you that I am loving them. I am a salad god. Or something like that. But I’ve been making a lot of salads lately, and they’ve all been pretty awesome… so now I’ll try to reconstruct them from (dubious) memory and my sketchy notes:

Cold Bit
spring mix
small bits of broccoli tops
1 Tbsp pickled ginger, patted dry
(would have also been good with some napa cabbage shreds here)

Hot Bit
thinly sliced baby carrots
thinly sliced purple onion
thinly slices garlic
thinly sliced broccoli stem
stir fried in 1/2 tsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp sesame oil, and San-J Szechuan sauce

1/2 tsp chinese mustard (mixed up according to the directions on the bottle)
1 tsp black pepper sauce
juice of half a lime
1 tsp buckwheat honey
1/2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp black vinegar


Hot Bit (part 1)
cooked up one slice of bacon on the stove, set it in a paper towel, and drained the fat from the pan

Cold Bit
spring mix
1 diced jalepeno pepper
2 Tbsp blue cheese crumbles (oddly, this was a bit too much cheese – just 1 Tbsp for a more balanced flavor)
sun dried tomatoes
grind of pepper

Hot Bit (part 2)
in same pan, cook:
sliced red onion
3 ounces of sliced leftover chicken breast

juice of half a lime
2/3 tsp black pepper sauce
1/4 tsp buckwheat honey
5 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Grey Poupon mustard
1 tsp Manischewitz concord grape


Cold Bit
spring mix
baby carrots, sliced thinly on an angle
1 tomato, quartered and then sliced thinly
3 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, sliced

salvaged bits from very, very ripe apricots
1 diced jalepeno pepper
2 finely sliced shallots
3 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
lime zest
(let the above sit a while, thinking they might become salsa… then realise the apricots have completely liquefied and should be salad dressing)
2 tsp Grey Poupon mustard
juice of 1 lime (already missing some zest)


Cold Bits
spring mix
salmon jerky (from Alaska)
thinly sliced red onion
1/2 avocado, sliced (and the rest eaten with a spoon and some more of the dressing – it was perfect)

Hot Bits
slight handful of slivered almonds, toasted

juice of 1/2 lime
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp lime brown sugar (brown sugar with lime zest in it – lime bit optional)
1 tsp Grey Poupon mustard
1 Tbsp soy sauce
grate of nutmeg
pinch of chipotle


Cold Bits
spring mix!
a few baby carrots, sliced in half and then thinly lengthwise
2 scallions, sliced thinly into rounds
1/4 cup roasted red pepper, sliced roughly against the grain
1/4 cup sliced dried tomatoes

Hot Bits
2 Tbsp fried leeks
3 oz thinly sliced beef

1 tsp tamarind-lime-honey sauce
1 tsp Grey Poupon mustard
4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
dash of 5 spice powder


Cold Bits
spring mix
several baby carrots, sliced thinly on an angle
1 very ripe banana, cut in half lengthwise, and then sliced
sections cut out from 1 orange

Hot Bits
4 oz leftover pork (having been cubed braised in taco seasoning and orange juice)

5 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp tamarind-lime-honey sauce
2 tsp wildflower honey
1 tsp Grey Poupon mustard

1/4 cup roasted salted cashews
2 scallions, cut in rounds, but on a slight angle

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Broccoli Rabe

   Posted by: Livia    in non-vegetarian, Recipe

There was lovely looking broccoli rabe at my produce truck this week, so I got a bunch. Now – a bunch is enough for two meals for me. Here’s the first meal planned out:

wash broccoli rabe and cut into 2-3 inch lengths. Blanch. Drain.

Saute in olive oil a whole bunch of garlic until it starts to brown. Add broccoli rabe.

In a flat pan, warm up a tortilla. Flip it over. Add some shredded sharp cheddar cheese, a tablespoon or two of the last of the carnitas I have in my fridge, and a spoonful or so of cooked broccoli rabe… some more cheese, fold over the tortilla – viola quesadilla.

And then over the weekend, I bought 5 pounds of potatoes for a dollar and acquired half a (cooked/smoked) ham from my mother.

Second meal:

Dice 2 potatoes (there were the size of a small fist each) and 8 baby carrots. Sautee in olive oil.

Roughly dice 1 medium onion. Throw that in, too.

Dice some ham… no idea how much… about as much by volume as there was potato, maybe less.

At this point, I seasoned the potatoes – salt, pepper, ground thyme, ground oregano, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, few dashes hot paprika.

Add ham. Keep cooking.

Rinsed the broccoli rabe, shook it dry, and then bundled it back up in its twist tie and just cut across into inch “strips” or so. Turned it into a nice chop.

Tossed that over top and let it steam a bit before stirring it in and cooking it with the rest.

Then I tasted it, and decided it would benefit from a pinch of ground cloves. And a little more salt.

I put up half into a container in the freezer for lunch, and the rest was very yummy.

Today, I went out and bought beets, so I think I’ll make the same dish again tonight (since I have a lot of potatoes and ham to get through, and soup might be coming next) only with beets instead of carrots and beet tops instead of the broccoli rabe.

Note on cloves: buying ground cloves is always a bit sad since the packet will quickly stink up (though in a nice way) the entire spice cabinet and then by the time you actually get around to needing the cloves all the flavor has seeped away. Therefore – I buy whole cloves and mostly just stick the whole things into stuff (roasts, or chucked into soups/stews/curries and fished out later). But when you really do want it ground and you aren’t making a whole spice mix where it’s worth the time to bring out (and clean) the mortar and pestle (mine’s heavy) – you can just pop off the little round bit at the top and crumble it by hand – and then put the stem back in the jar to be stuck into stuff later.

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Have another food list – Mexican Corn Soup

   Posted by: Livia    in Food, lists, Recipe, soup

food I have
1 grapefruit
2 tomatoes (1 urgent)
3 roasted bell peppers
2-3 bell peppers (yellow & red)
mixed small lettuces

3/4 container of sour cream
1% milk
1/2 pint heavy cream
goat cheese

1/3 loaf of brown bread (ETA: just heels left)
1/2 round of pumpernickel
small amount of leftover white rice

some leftover cooked chicken (from the breasts marinated in peaches & cowboy rub)

some prepared enchiladas that need to be baked
sauce to go with them

Tuesday, February 19 *done*
take 1 link of turkey sausage from freezer to thaw.
take container of small cut pork from freezer to thaw (with black bean & pepper sauce?)
put enchiladas into the freezer
Make a sandwich with chicken leftovers, tomato, and lettuce (and goat cheese?)

Wednesday, February 20 *done*
make a “bread pudding” with some of the pumpernickel bread, eggs, cream, cheese, tomato, and grilled turkey sausage with onions and peppers. Possibly bacon, too. With a little side salad, of course.
*freeze some of this for lunches*

Thursday, February 21 *done*
stir fry of pork, broccoli, onion, and peppers over rice.

Friday, February 22
leftover rice needs to be used up. So do carnitas. Would it be sacrilege to dump them together with cream of chicken soup? Probably. So it would be slightly more respectable to… make burritos! with lots of cheese and sour cream – and maybe a zucchini. And all the rest of the lettuce.

plus bonus recipe – Mexican corn soup
Oh, and I almost forgot to give you the recipe for the soup I made the other day.

If you remember, I had some stock with tomato paste mixed in (let’s say a 3-4 cups of stock with 1/2 a little can of paste).

I also had some liquid I had drained out of the carnitas at the very last minute because I didn’t have the nerve to see what happened to my cooking pot, if I let the pork get completely dry. This was only about 1 cup of lovely pork/citrus/spices essence.

So I went looking in my Mexican cookbook, and found a recipe for corn soup I could use as a starting point.

So I boiled the stock/tomato paste mixture for 20 minutes to kill any bacteria.

Then I combined in a blender:

  • 1 onion, cooked down in some of the fat skimmed from the pork liquid (there wasn’t much, really – I was using pork loin instead of the fattier cuts the carnitas recipe recommends) and then seasoned with paprika
  • 1 can of corn, drained
  • 1 tomatoes, peeled and seeded
  • enough stock to make everything juicy and blending smoothly

In a saucepan, I think combined:

  • everything from the blender
  • the rest of the stock
  • salt & pepper

If I were following the recipe, I would now add 1/2 a cup (a whole cup? I don’t remember) of heavy cream. But since most of this would be going into the refrigerator and getting reheated, I decided to add the cream right before serving. And then I found that lumps of sour cream were more satisfying than cream.

I also considered adding chicken at that time, but I ended up also just adding cut up chicken to the bowls while reheating so that I could have the option to swap in carnitas instead of chicken (though I never for around to trying that). It was also a good soup without meat.

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Is it a date date?

   Posted by: Livia    in restaurant, Review

Tragically stuck without a D&D game for the evening, I decided to have a look the the classifieds on Craigslist.

1) Apparently there will be a Frida Kahlo exhibit at the art museum. Woot! So going. But I bet the guy looking for someone petite to accompany him wasn’t looking for me.

2) I might be meeting some other random guy for coffee.

3) I did meet up with someone looking for appetizers & drinks tonight. It was… odd.

So he left me a voicemail (because occasionally my phone just doesn’t feel like ringing) that said something like, “I will be on time. I am wearing [generic colored] pants, a shirt with [some bland pattern], a green corduroy jacket, and a [some color] vest.” So I left him a voicemail saying, “I am wearing a bright orange shirt.” Because, really, that’s so much easier. And, yes, I did change out of a beige shirt into the orange shirt – but not just for easy recognizability, but also because I spilled tea on the beige shirt two seconds before leaving work.

We went to a nifty place that Philadelphia Magazine mentions frequently: SnackBar. Sadly, (or happily?) despite the crazy avant garde foams I’d been promised, their menu was a bit creative, but basically solid.

But first – let me talk about the random date guy. He mentioned that he’d been having a rough week. I mentioned that I’d had better weeks, too, and that I wanted something fun to do over the weekend before my birthday. So we got together, if not to be romantic, at least to bitch in luxury.

Man, he totally wins for stress. He’s working on Clinton’s campaign. So he spent the entire time (while talking a mile a minute) trying to figure out whether his team was going to have to fly out that night to Virginia or whether they’d be going tomorrow. Mind you, I get off work at 9pm, and we met up at 10pm, so he finally arranges for the charter to leave at 11:30pm and had the driver pick him up at 10:45. Shortest date ever.

Yet oddly, not a total loss.

We went through a lot of politics. He (accidentally) evened out one of my concerns about Obama. We talked about the difference in payroll between Democratic and Republican campaign workers (Democratic campaign workers are paid 5% off the top of the funds spend, including funds spent on television ads, so they have to raise that much more money off the top. Republican workers are paid largely in a victory bonus, if the campaign is successful.) He talked about how incredibly boring it had been to be on staff (instead of just trying to get elected) for [a local politician]. He’s been working on political campaigns since, I think he said, Al Gore’s presidential bid. And right now he’s a grad student in economics – he’d been hoping to write his dissertation in the space between March and September, but it’s not looking like the election will give him any free time.

Freakishly, he even managed to be interesting when talking about economics. He recommended two books he has read lately – one about the manufacture of a t-shirt, but he couldn’t remember the title (maybe this book?), and the other was The End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs, which he claimed was economically solid and contained actionable steps.

And we talked about how if the democrats don’t win, we might consider emigration (as you do). He suggested Montreal because being bilingual would mean they’d have twice as many books for the library (yes, we did find time to talk about me, too). I mentioned that that would be no use, since I am pants with French. And then we started comparing Toronto and Vancouver… and he mentioned Battlestar Galactica being filmed in Vancouver. I was all ready to discount the geek quotient since I’d already primed him with the knowledge that I was a wee bit geeky, but then he added that the entire bit on Caprica had been filmed on a local college campus. And I have no idea, but I am well pleased that he thought that was worth knowing.

But with being all stressed, he wasn’t at all prepared for a relaxing evening. Despite having clearly stipulated that we had to go somewhere with a liquor license, he ended up only having ice tea. I, on the other hand, had some house cocktail with apple cider and stuff that went down easy but wasn’t particularly noticeable. And since I wasn’t going to try a new restaurant without trying anything on the menu, I got the brussel sprouts small dish. OH! It was wonderful. It was thin slices of brussel sprouts with sweet apple and big chunks of rustic bacon with a coarse mustard sauce. Mmmm! After that was so successful, I was tempted to try the salmon with bok choi and stuff, but my date had already left and the price was a little much – besides, with just one dish the restaurant had a great record going – a shame to break that.

All in all – far from the worst date I’ve ever had.


Last night’s dinner was all full of experimentation.

My grocery has had cheap chuck roasts (and small ones, too!). And instead of making my standard pot roast or swiss steak, I happened across a recipe on the internet for beer braised beef (from [redacted]’s del.ici.ous links)

So I went and bought a six-pack of Negra Modela on my way home. I added the salt and pepper to the raw meat, and then I let it sit for a hour because I went to a demo at the restaurant school nearby last summer and the chef had said that rubs that included salt are used incorrectly when they are added right before cooking – instead they should sit on long enough that the salt not only draws out moisture, but also then re-dries forming a little crust of salty goodness on the outside of the meat. Whatever – I gave it a try.

After the browning stage with just the salt and pepper, the roast smelled wonderful and was very tasty (What? I hadn’t had lunch!).

I put in all three onions that the recipe called for (but none of the shallots because I didn’t have any and how were you going to notice the difference between onions and shallots in a dish with flavors this heavy?) and then I remembered that my roast was a little smaller than the recipe called for, so I pulled out some of them halfway through cooking – they are destined for an onion and potato curry with yellow thai noodle sauce.

Added beer. Cooked. Ate some ramen (because starving!). Flipped the roast. Dipped a piece of bread in the goody and ate that – MMmmm tasty! Cooked. Ate a yogurt cup. Made and ate a side dish. And then the roast was finished! So I nibbled at a corner and put it aside to be tonight’s dinner because I was full and it was 10pm.

Verdict: even with mexican beer, the beef tastes belgian. I think I’ll thicken the sauce to make gravy, and maybe that will give it a more yumminess. I secretly think that I should have added one of those mini cans of tomato paste to the braising right at the beginning, but I am not wise in the ways of tomato paste and do not keep those little can in stock. Maybe I should start.

ETA: Pulled beef out, brought liquid to a fast boil, and put a heaping Tablespoon of whole wheat flour in a little mesh strainer and sifted it in slowly while stirring – made a very tasty gravy.

About half an hour before the roast finished, I started preparing a side dish. Well, it ended up being two side dishes by accident. But I was trying a new vegetable kohlrabi.

A bit of preliminary research turned up that it was a member of the cabbage family and “just like broccoli.” Only it’s leafy and bulbous, and not much like either of those things, so I was puzzled.

Finally a found a recipe that seemed made just for this vegetable, instead of randomly substituting it into a brussel sprout recipe: Braised kohlrabi with garlic and parmesan

And thus I had a theme for the evening – braising everything!

And then I cheated on it because right after I had prepared the kohlrabi for the recipe, I realised that it wasn’t going to use the greens – so I cut them up into little strips and threw them into some olive oil a few minutes after I threw in some garlic. If I had thought it through, I think this is a dish that would really have been improved with the use of my fancy olive oil (I am starting to be able to taste the differences). And then, since I was shredding parmesan anyway, I tossed in a goodly handful of cheese before eating it

verdict (Greens): Reminded me a lot of broccoli rabe leaves. Soft and tasty without being bitter, but with a lovely amount of spiciness.

Right, so the real recipe – sauteing garlic and kohlrabi in butter was a brilliant way to start. Turns out that half an ice cube tray of duck stock melts out to exactly 200mL – win! So I had much more flavorful stock going in that is called for.

verdict (bulb): Again, color me unreasonably skeptical – it was just like broccoli. Well, broccoli stems. Only easier to peel and with more surface area. I’ve been using broccoli stems for years to replace water chestnuts from recipes – and kohlrabi will be even better. I am all impressed with this new (to me) vegetable.

Now I have leftover duck broth infused with the essence of garlic, butter, and kohlrabi. Do I (a) use it to marinate a chicken leg quarter as I thaw it, or (b) make some rice, pour that in, maybe cook a few greens for on top, and call it dinner?

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