Search results for '"farmer's market"'

Farmer’s Market Haul

1 Aug

Today’s Farmer’s Market Haul is actually from three weeks ago. Last Friday I had to help my Mom with something and the Friday before that I helped my friends move, so I’ve been lacking on the Farmer’s Market Hauls in my house. I stopped by a farm stand for produce to get by, and I’ve been rationing the last of the hummus, much to Isobel’s dismay. My Dad was able to do a little bit of shopping at the market last week, plus my friend Jake gave me more squash, so I should be okay for another few days.

This particular trip I bought:

Peaches, at Isobel’s request. Her favorite. Apricots, peaches, and nectarines are kind of a three-way tie for me, but if I had to chose a favorite, I’d say nectarines. But Isobel has shown a marked preference for yellow peaches.

Olive oil, locally grown and pressed extra-virgin olive oil. At ten bucks a bottle, it’s competitively priced compared to some of the fancy oils I’ve bought at the grocery store. Of course, oil like this I save for bread dipping, salad dressing, or other special touches.

Nectarines, for myself mostly, but Anthony and Isobel helped me polish them off.

Lemon Garlic Toasted Pita Chips, normally I get the garlic herb kind, but these were somehow even more amazing, with a bright lemon flavor that makes these chips dangerously addictive.

Tomatoes, local tomatoes are so freaking awesome.

Bell peppers, our market is never overflowing with them, but these looked good.

Heirloom cherry tomatoes, although we’ll occasionally toss them in salads, my preferred method of eating this is standing at the counter, grabbing fistfuls from the bowl, and shoving them into my mouth. Even the tiniest little globe has enormously potent flavor.

Day-Old Baguette, since it wasn’t fresh I got it for only a dollar. A dollar. It was so good Isobel and I snacked on it with butter for lunch and toasted up the rest and ate it with Jake’s basil and tapenade for lunch the rest of the week. It made some amazing croutons, also.

Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade, Anthony is not fond of hummus. He’s a good sport, and allowed me to foist it on him a couple of times, but he just doesn’t like it. I decided to give him a break and instead of getting my usual hummus I sprang for this, which Anthony gobbled down. We really like eating it with roast chicken.

Farm Fresh Eggs, if you follow me on Twitter then you’re aware of my obsession with someone I call the Egg Man at  the Farmer’s Market. Eggs are what I look forward to the most, and I’m devastated if the Egg Man skips a week at the market. I just so happened to be visiting with my friend Valerie that day, and her chickens went nuts and laid a ton of eggs overnight, so she brought me some of their bounty. Isobel remembers Valerie’s chickens, vividly, as they once scared the shit out of her. These eggs were amazing.

More Torpedo Red Onions, these are labeled as Italian, but they’ve been grown in this area forever. I’ve never seen them at the grocery store, but my Dad remembers his Dad buying them locally and cooking with them all summer long. My mom remembers them from growing up in the Delta. They’ve been in the area forever. I particularly like their flavor.

Goat Cheese – Queijo Nicolau, really, really good with the eggs. I kind of want to try it with macaroni and cheese.

Raw almonds, I have a recipe that I’m itching to try for spiced almonds. The problem is someone keeps snacking on them before I have a chance to try it. Anthony.

Purple Green Beans, I had never seen these before, and so my natural and immediate reaction is of course to buy a whole bunch. They taste the same as regular green beans, and once you cook them up they resemble green beans, if a bit darker.

Literature, I can’t go to the Farmer’s Market without coming home with something interesting, be it a flyer for a tour of an alpaca farm or free books from Dolly Parton or a tiny sunflower plant.  This time it was a newsletter and a DVD about saving local farm land in our area.

The best thing I’ve made so far with our Farmer’s Market vegetables is gazpacho–a refreshing, cold tomato soup that is Spanish in origin. It’s the perfect thing to eat when you don’t want to cook and you need something fresh and cooling for the palate. It’s best made with ingredients at the peak of their season, and really shouldn’t be made at all otherwise. I used a modified version of this recipe. Practically every ingredient came from the market.

We ate it with a steak dinner (the one I burned the holy hell out of my hand preparing) and it was very, very good.

The next day I served it with brown rice and mixed the two together. Isobel really liked it that way. She wasn’t interested in it as a soup, but ate almost a whole bowl full of the rice mixture. I froze most of the soup for later in small containers so I can just pull another one out of the freezer when we finish our current container.

I’ve also been cooking up squash my friend Jake has given me from his garden, and there’s nothing quite like fresh, local squash, cooked thin and sauteed in olive oil. It caremelizes and cooks up like candy.

My Dad brought over small red potatoes and I cooked them and mashed the hell out of them and added butter and nutmeg.

I return to work for two days this week to train my replacement. I have some safe, fall back meals planned to get me through. Wish me luck!

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Last Haul of the Season

24 Jan

Ah, summer. That magical time when I visited the Farmer’s Market each week and planned our meals accordingly. Now that the market has closed and the local fruit stands have boarded up their windows, I have only my memories and occasional trips to the local remate to tide me over. It’s tough to get there with the kid, and cold and muddy, too, and I have a hard time struggling to carry all those purchases the distance I have to walk back to the car. I can’t wait until May.

These photos are from the last market of the season back in October. This trip was extra special because I was able to fit some thrifting in that day, too.

The plates, bowls and hangers are all thrifted. Purchases that day included green beans, pea shoots, pomegranates, raw almonds, peaches, grape tomatoes, hummus, red pepper tapenade, and a butternut squash.

The sunflower seeds pictured here were actually grown in my garden. Earlier in the season Isobel and I checked out a local nursery’s booth at the Farmer’s Market and they had a display with soil, a little peat pot and seeds. We happened to run into my cousin’s family there, so Isobel and her cousin Victoria got to plant their own sunflower seeds. We watered it and placed it above the sink and two days later it sprouted. It was so magical for Isobel and I to watch. We watched it bloom and eventually cut it down. Isobel helped me pluck the seeds from the flower head. It was incredibly easy and required little more than water on my part.

The amber jar and wooden salt and pepper shakers in the background were also purchased secondhand that day, along with the Pyrex, mushroom cruets, and very awesome (but naturally, inaccurate) vintage dinosaur place mat. I picked up the letter sorter for Isobel and milk glass dish below for a song.

I miss you, summer.

Best of 2011: Little Big Kitchen

26 Dec

These are my favorite food-related posts from 2011.

Thrifty Living: Drying & Saving Herbs

22 Nov

Today I’m going to show you the best way for storing cut herbs. No, I’m not talking about one of those herb saver dealies, but you can certainly go out and spend 15-20 bucks on that if it makes you feel better. That might be worth it to you, but besides the fact that it costs money it’s just another thing that serves a single purpose that you’ll inevitably have to clean and store and care for for the rest of your life, or until you chuck it in the garbage. Wow, I really sound like a grump about those things. I’m not, really.  If the situation presented itself I’d love to try it. I do love me a kitchen gadget after all, but the fact is I don’t have the budget to go bandying about on something that can just as easily be remedied by some scissors, a tall glass, and some water. So, here’s the thrifty way to preserve your freshly cut herbs:

1. First, take your bunch of herbs (here we have Thai basil from the Farmer’s Market), and snip off the ends. Just like with cut flowers, snipping the ends every few days helps ensure a crisp, clean stem to help circulate the water better.

2. Fill a glass part way up with water and plunk the herbs in. It will smell really, really lovely, as that is the nature of herbs, but press on anyway. Make sure the stems are well submerged in the water, or else the top of your herbs will dry out and get crispy. (If some do get crispy, don’t panic: just avoid them in favor for leaves that still have life in them.)

3. Place in the refrigerator. Ta-da! They will keep well for several days, and up to a week or more depending on the freshness of the herbs and the type of herb you are saving. You may need to add water or change it out  if it becomes cloudy or murky, but other than that you are good to go.

I buy some sort of herbs every week at the grocery store or farmer’s market. My herb garden isn’t large enough to supply every herb I need, but inevitably when I buy herbs this way I always have a ton left over. In an effort to cut waste and boost nutrition I’ve been adding the leftover chopped herbs to my food on a daily basis. Almost everything you eat can benefit from some chopped Italian parsley (which is usually what I have leftover), so I’ve been adding it to eggs, sandwiches, salads,  over chicken, in soups, whatever. At the end of the week, I’m usually left with a bunch of slimy stems that can be tossed straight in the compost bin.

Last week I harvested some fresh herbs from my garden and dried them in the oven. I got a lot of requests for tutorials on twitter, and you are going to be surprised at how easy it is:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees F.

2. Line a baking tray with parchment.

3. Place clean, dry herbs on try.

4. Dry for 2-4 hours.

You’ll know your herbs are done when they crackle and flake into bits when crumbled. Delicate leaves will take closer to two hours while stems and heartier plants will take nearer to four. The thing you’ll notice is that they are still very freshly green when dried this way as opposed to dried herbs you’ll by from the store.

Recipe: Dirt Candy

11 Oct

So, beets. Let me start by saying I like beets. I like them, a lot. Okay? I know people get weird squeamish food prejudices about vegetables because they’ve been subjected to subdued canned versions growing up or in school cafeterias, but I even like canned beets. I think they’re great.

Raw beets, however, are not as tasty to me. I like them baked wrapped in foil or pickled, but I’m not as keen on them even when sliced attractively thin on a plate mixed in with carrots. I could probably grow accustomed to that musty-earth flavor, but I’m too busy eating them other ways to try.

Enter, dirt candy. This recipe for curing root vegetables (and butternut squash) in sugar caught my eye and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Curing the vegetables in this way allows them to retain the crispness of texture while softening the raw bite of their flavor through curing. The sugar pulls all the moisture out of the vegetable, shrinking it and transforming the flavor. It came to mind immediately when I noticed golden beets at the Farmer’s Market.

In the interest of eating the whole plant and thereby saving money, I first cooked the beet greens.

Golden beet greens are less photogenic than regular beet greens because they do not have the shockingly ruby red veins contrasting against the dark green leaves. I used this recipe, which was delicious but I don’t have a photo. Cooked greens are not photogenic.

I had a few beets to work with and before I made candy I sliced some up and made beet chips using the same method I used for the butternut squash. I loved them, though not as much as I loved the squash chips. Their earthiness translated almost to a smokiness, which was nice.

(That dip you see next to them was a mixture of sour cream, Greek yogurt, and dill. And I had rather more than what is pictured on the plate.)

While the chips were baking and the greens were bubbling I started on the candy. The instructions are as follows: 1. dice beets, 2. cover with a pile of sugar, 3. wait. Aside from some light stirring that happens over the course of a couple days,that’s it. You cover it, set it in the fridge, and let nature do its thing.

Nature doesn’t mess around. After the first half hour I drained off this much liquid already.

I know what you are thinking: that looks like Mountain Dew at best and a very sick person’s urine sample at worst. That’s 100% sugary golden beet juice.  I thought about reducing to a syrup and adding to Greek yogurt. Twitter was not enthusiastic about this idea.

After I took the photo, of course, I poured the liquid back over the beets and stashed them in the fridge and waited, stirring intermittently, for two days. But you don’t have to wait that long! Thanks to the magic of the internet I can show you the result…

The liquid darkened. The beet pieces had shrunk but remained firm and they glowed as if from within. They were good. They were very good.

They tasted like beets but without that full raw bite. And the concentration of sugars made them sweet, like, well, candy. As I ate them I thought, wow. I bet these would be even better roasted. Totally unnecessary of course. Gilding the lily, really. But once I had the idea I couldn’t let go of it, so onto an oiled baking tray they went. Ten minutes later…

They were gorgeous. The exterior sugars caramelized and scorched in places while beets became a mixture of chewy in some places and crisp in others. I could have eaten a popcorn bag full. Add some sea salt and it was better than candy. They would make an amazing garnish.

Thrifty Living: Halloween Decorations

5 Oct

At first I was going to feel really weird about this post. I mean, it’s technically fall, and people are already pulling out their sweaters and knee-high boots (even me), and, until this week, the weather’s been in the mid-90s. I ditched the sweater halfway through the Farmer’s Market and wished I would have left the boots in the closet. Living where I do, in the middle of California, our spring and autumn seasons are brief and our summers linger way after they’ve worn out their welcome. Fall doesn’t really get going until December, and the only way we ever get a White Christmas is if we have a heavy fog.

Nature must have felt my sincere desire for autumn weather, because this week our highs dipped into the low 80s and we actually had cloud cover and a breeze. And a rumor of rain, but hoping for that just felt greedy.

Isobel and I decorated the house together over the weekend, and we had a blast doing it together. I didn’t even bother decorating the house during her first Halloween, and between the kittens and Isobel’s teething, it just wasn’t safe to decorate for her second.

This agate mushroom bookend set is normally in my bedroom, but I pulled it out in the living room along with this candle I found while thrifting. I just don’t think I can give either of them up.  I’ve tried (though, admittedly, not very hard).

By far my favorite decoration this year is my skull specimen, which I put together for under $5. You might remember the cheese dome from the Monkey Giveaway. I found that at a thrift store quite awhile ago, searching for the perfect use for it. Besides displaying monkeys, of course. Duh.

One porcelain skull from my boyfriend’s later, and we have a lovely skull specimen.

Isobel still thinks they are pirates, and she likes to walk up to this one and say, “ARRRRRR!” before giving it a huge kiss.

I decorated the outside of our house, too, but I did a pretty ghetto job. You see that thing under the sign? That’s a Valentine’s decoration I put up nearly three years ago. I just kind of shoved my metal Halloween sign over it.

Our gnome is representin’ the holidays in his costume. I should probably name him. And then give him clothes. Or is that just for House Elves?

The kitchen is coming along. I wanted to take everything off the fridge so I could rearrange things, but Isobel got very upset I moved her Isobel magnets, so I just shoved everything to the bottom. I bought magnets for the Trick/Treat sign so it’s not hanging by ghetto magnet hooks. I really should find my wine bottles for the top of the fridge, too.

I like having a set of holiday magnets. My mom had holiday magnets for my sister and I when we were little, and it was a fun tradition for us.

A little garland never hurt nobody.

And I love my new kitchen towels.

Isobel helped me decorate the sideboard, too. She kept telling me that “the pirates were sleeping,” which was kind of creepy. Yes, they are sleeping. Eternally.

I found these rose-shaped pine cones last year and I’m kicking myself for not writing down where we found them. I’d love to collect more. Dried berries and autumn leaves were also collected last year, because our leaves haven’t even thought of dropping off yet.

I inherited this glass pumpkin from my Nana. I keep thinking of fun things to fill it with: pine cones, candy corn, acorns.

I’m sure everyone’s seen the adorable doilies-as-spiderwebs on Pinterest? I saw them a couple years ago before Pinterest but only recently found doilies. They came already mounted on these lovely metal hoops. I just added the spiders Isobel put in my basket while thrifting. I was like, “High five, kid! I totally needed those.”

I found this owl in a thrift store the day an identical one in my shop sold. The one I was selling was painted a solid, glossy black and I very nearly closed the listing so I could keep the owl and the painted candle sconce for my own Halloween decorations. Part of me wants to keep this guy as is, part of me wants to paint him black, part of me thinks I should sell him because I don’t need another project right now. For the timebeing, at least, he’s part of my Halloween display.

You may have noticed that I don’t like gore or scary decorations. (Though what’s scarier than the skulls and their not-so-subtle reminders of our mortality?) Well, I’ve never been a fan of gore, but I have saved the truly scary, the deeply frighting, absolutely horrifying for the end. Behold! My scariest Halloween decoration of all!

I should do something about that.

After the holidays.

Follow Friday: Holding Hands

16 Sep

I am so going to miss the Farmer’s Market when it closes next month. I’ve been to almost all of them this year, and some of the time we’ve been lucky enough to meet up with my bestie Angela and her son Kingston. This trip they not only decided they were going to spend about a half hour spontaneously dancing, but they also took the opportunity to hold hands and run around.

What is Follow Friday? It’s a Twitter meme that I have taken a couple steps further.  Learn more about it in my FAQ. See my nomination for a Shorty Award for Follow Friday here. You can read more Follow Friday goodness here.

NASeason Ergo baby carrier hidden bonus: no bra required.

BridgetCallahan What if when God said “I have a plan”, he meant “…to kill you all. Muahahahaha”?

theleanover When I say “Will cuddle for $$” I mean I’ll cuddle and you give me money as opposed to the more conventional arrangement of me paying you.

iNusku I sure hope these anti-psychotics don’t level me out, and turn me into a Facebook user.

sgnp When all is lost, flip the board over like a maniac. #LifeLessonsMonopolyTaughtMe

mrpilkington Okay last chance for you to give me access to your sweet Manhattan penthouse for a week. I have zero dollars but I will break things.

jillgengler Seen on way into work: high-waisted acid wash jeans paired with a side pony. Children of the future, those of the past send warnings!

thecorbettkid big chapter of our lives. 4yo started school this am. his dad says: “well, one step closer to making his own money!” um…

hotdogsladies While I have absolutely no interest in organized sports, I’m always pulling for anyone who’s trying to use MUNI. Guess I love an underdog.

slackmistress Crappy Diem, amirite?

wowser “We’d like to employ a slave, but they have to be very posh” – Internships.

joeinverarity In case you are having too good of a good day, let me remind you, Snooki is a New York Times Best-Selling Author, and we live in this world.

TheAngryDM Apparently, I can control the weather. I can summon drenching rain merely by leaving my car windows open.

theleanover Isn’t it embarrassing when you open your laptop up in a classroom and the video player’s still on and instead of porn it’s Star Trek DS9?

PlumeriaSprite Hugging an old, plump, buxom woman is like a comfy memory foam mattress.

markleggett “Conway Twitty” sounds like an app.

Handflapper Who the fuck are these skank whore looking fairies hanging out with Tinkerbell anyway? Disney’s version of The Bad Girls’ Club?

LouisPeitzman I’d drive a lot better if you’d just let me win all our Words With Friends games.

willgoldstein Is it bad that I need my twitter and instagram feeds to figure out when I last bathed my child?

FozziesRevenge i thought turtles were too slow to be effective ninjas

librarianearp Attention. I have added Tiptoe Through The Tulips to my ukulele recital list. I believe this means I should be Tiny Tim for Halloween.

smonkyou My wife told me to call at 3pm to find out where I am. But I know where I am so I’m not sure if I should call.

chickenscottpie When you harmonize with the hum of the garage door opener, people act like, somehow, you’re the one who’s crazy.

geekandahalf Drunk. Tell ya mama.

PolyesterPony You’ll be happy to know that you can mix gins with no more ill affect. Effect? Fuck. Maybe a little effect. Dammit.

slackmistress How many years of marriage is the Star Trek Anniversary?

TheThryll Some people like Beethoven’s 5th, I prefer “Dennis Steals the Embryo” from the Jurassic Park Soundtrack.

YourAuntDiane Anyone want some leftovers of this vegan dessert I just had? It’ll keep forever, it’s a bowl of water.

shinyinfo You know someone’s got their lyric game locked up when they make a Death of a Salesman reference.

johnmoe I asked my producer to find audio of Kardashians. For our public radio show. And the day just kind of went downhill after that.

UncleDynamite Every time I see a little kid slither out of a ball pit, I think “Design fail.”

Toaster_Pastry According to our office copy of People magazine, William and Kate are planning to get married.

aspaul I should never have bought an audiobook of Ethan Hawke narrating Slaughterhouse-Five. I’d rather hear Gilbert Gottfried reading Lolita.

himissjulie oh, man, I’d love to design a library. it might end up looking like homer simpson’s car, but it would be so much fun.

andrewtshaffer I found a poor little lonely pumpkin pie at Super Target and I had no choice but to take it home with me.

LIFECOACHERS Use your anger-charged batteries of hate to power your Energizer Bunny fists.

danbeames If M Night Shyamalan was on Twitter: “Just went to the shop to buy milk and eggs, now I’m WE ALL LIVE INSIDE A COMPUTER.”

sarcasmically Bacon is good and all but let’s be honest, it’s just a carrier for the chocolate frosting.

MassageByTed One universal truth about city buses: someone in the back is dying.

shariv67 Fucking your way to the top is a great way to become a world class fuck-up.

badbanana Day five of the Insanity Workout. Ten minutes of talking to a mailbox followed by an hour at McDonald’s with a sword.

ProfessorSnack One man’s junk is another man’s pleasure.

Ty_Schutz I’m so comfortable with my sexuality, I’ve started farting in front of it.

rachow Think I figured out the secret to a bigger dick. Might shoot everyone an email.

abdpbt Is it real irony or Alanis irony that the OB/GYN has the most uncomfortable seating options for pregnant women available?

taryn_a_k When I was younger I though Sleeping With The Enemy was part two of Pretty Woman. That explains a lot of my paranoia in relationships.

TheNextMartha When some of you admit that you’re crazy? I believe you.

eliza_evans Okay, have to eat before proofing this cover letter. Else I’ll probably send it off saying something like, ‘Please love me. I work good.’

helgagrace Wow, I actually found a horror movie ON THE SHELF. WHERE IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE. My patrons are getting lazy.

posthumanist Literally every Republican presidential candidate looks like they could play Satan in a movie about a Satan president.

DaisyJDog You ever notice how white dogs are all like this but black dogs are also the same way because dogs aren’t racist?

theleanover Nothin’ makes me sadder than people! LOL!

muffpunch Dropped the carafe to my espresso maker & broke it. Cleaned up the glass then knocked the machine over & broke it. I’m pretty good at this.

babybabylemon I wonder if Spencer has figured out why he asks me to sing the ABC song every time after twinkle twinkle.

UnicornFlavored Note: “Tranquil Mint” aromatherapy lotion from B&BWorks smells NOT like mint, but like a heavily cologned man in white linen pants.

eihposa Holy crap I didn’t mean for that to be in all caps. Sorry. I feel dirty.

SpaghettiJesus I always mistake people with Audrey Hepburn avatars for Audrey Hepburn.

geekandahalf I’m not even running for president and I could freaking beat Newt Gingrich. #realtalk

LouisPeitzman The more this country goes to shit, the more I rely on the hilarious people I follow to keep me sane. You’re all my Jon Stewarts!

rstevens Peek At Chu is a dude who looks in people’s windows. Pikachu is the famous electric cryptid. Know your cryptids.

DoubleBerg426 Just pulled off the rare sneeze-fart-sigh triplet.

morninggloria The Republican Debate happened tonight. Or, as I like to call it, The Great American Who Can Keep A Straight Face The Longest? Contest.

sarcasmically I hope to make it big one day and have an attendant whose sole responsibility will be to make sure my hands are never lacking an Otter Pop.

SpaghettiJesus The most important moral I have taken away tonight is that just because you have a side salad in your fridge, you don’t have to eat it. #GOP

luckyshirt People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw orgies.

jillsmo According to my mom, in order to teach me about sex as a kid, she bought me a Playgirl magazine. And I colored all the penises purple.

ShaunLetendre Either ‘desperate and lonely’ doesn’t work anymore, or this is a gay bar.

jenifersf  “Capture and battle magical breasts” is what I just read an ad for a video game say. That would be better than what the game actually is.

WordShore “The red means hot. The blue means cold. Wanna practice a little?” Handyman has little faith in my uncivilized European upbringing.

MassageByTed Measuring my head with a ruler because I couldn’t possibly have anything more pressing to do.

luckyshirt Fall fashion trends update from my campus! This year it’s “picnic table pelts” for the guys, and “what the hell are sizes” for the ladies!

SaraJOY Pretty sure that when I think really mean things & do not say them, candy is supposed to rain from the heavens. WHERE’S MY CANDY, SKY?!?!

domesticH nobody cried, the toast didn’t burn, and the first thing i put on worked… i’m pretty sure this’ll be the day i get hit by a car.

anildash One of the best things about getting old is how many things you don’t have to give a shit about anymore.

saraschaefer1 Watching a documentary about a sheep farm. THEY ARE PUTTING FOOTIE PAJAMAS ON A NEWBORN LAMB.

wordsinmymouth Could some one please DM me a Xanax. Thanks!

han_nahj adults should NEVER have to wear leotards.

theleanover Admits he was a barnacle that clung to the side of Noah’s Ark. #CheneyBookSurprises

theleanover Foreword written by George W. Bush: in crayon. #CheneyBookSurprises

theleanover Written on a typewriter built by Satan. #CheneyBookSurprises

NicLewis Has never eaten an orphan. He prefers the family to watch as he eats. #CheneyBookSurprises

Mothpete If you don’t have enough explosions in your movie, you’re doing it the wrong Michael Bay.

telephase Sometimes, I start trying to play Wu-Tang Clan lyrics on Words with Friends. That’s how I know it’s time to put down the phone.

What is Follow Friday? It’s a Twitter meme that I have taken a couple steps further.  Learn more about it in my FAQ. See my nomination for a Shorty Award for Follow Friday here. You can read more Follow Friday goodness here.

Follow Friday: Vintage Chairs

9 Sep

Our weekly Farmer’s Market has lately been populated with adorable vintage chairs,  and after walking by this adorable turquoise set of patio chairs and tables I broke down and brought them home. I would have loved to add these colorful children’s chairs to our home, but considering our decorating theme is already close to what I call “Goldilocks,” I had to pass. Unfortunately.

If Isobel’s outfit looks familiar it’s because I took these photos on the day when she and Kingston spontaneously started dancing. Though, really, this is the outfit she would wear every day, if I let her.

What is Follow Friday? It’s a Twitter meme that I have taken a couple steps further.  Learn more about it in my FAQ. See my nomination for a Shorty Award for Follow Friday here. You can read more Follow Friday goodness here.

filigreegirl Just realized I’ve been here since 8:00 and I have no idea where I put my glasses.

toddmarrone The stick figure decals on my car’s rear window represent the people I’ve hit.

theneener OH at the Labs: Could’ve been the president of the company, could’ve been a vagrant. You never know with those cowboy hats.

TheNextMartha Actually remembering that today was picture day is my greatest accomplishment this year.

RitleySammich “I’d tap that.” – The Raven, on your chamber door

wawoodworth Bacon and the Art of Motorcycle Repair #replacebooktitleswithbacon

quietjenn The Year of Magical Bacon #replacebooktitleswithbacon

LaurelKS The Call of the Bacon #replacebooktitleswithbacon

goodinthestacks Who Moved My Bacon? #replacebooktitleswithbacon

lauracope Their Eyes Were Watching Bacon #replacebooktitleswithbacon

iamfoxyroxie A Million Little Bacons #replacebooktitleswithbacon

NiceDeb All I Really Needed To Know About Bacon I Learned in Kindergarten #replacebooktitleswithbacon

yowhatsthehaps  The way Al Green feels when he sings to ladies is pretty much how I feel about pop tarts. (I looooooooooooove them.)

NASeason You know what sound I love hearing when I’m hooked to the breast pump? Cat vomiting on carpet, that’s what.

jerryrenek If you dye your dog’s fur, there should be a special corner of Kansas set aside for you.

dingman35 I used to wake up to Kenny Loggins Dangerzone as my alarm but I don’t anymore, because the day can’t possibly get any better after that

slackmistress I still fit into my jeans which means I’ve failed Labor Day.

shariv67 Avoid unfortunate teasing like Mitch the bitch or Lester the molester by naming all your kids Orange.

That_Biz I will survive, until nap time, hey hey!

MassageByTed If only Dorothea Lange had used Instagram, the Depression would’ve been way more awesome.

rstevens Microblogging is so 2007. I’m nanoblogging now.

GoonSquadSarah I just broke my lawnmower. Somehow that makes me feel like a badass.

ohpeetie Gross. Mom made buckwheat pancakes for breakfast. I didn’t eat any because I have a strict No Eating Little Rascals policy.

frknrica Please use your indoor voices, Mommy had a lot of rum last night.

LouisPeitzman If I say, “gurl,” that means you look fierce. If I say, “guuurl,” you’re being crazy, or I started saying “gurl” and it turned into a burp.

TheRedQueen How do the actors on The Fresh Beat Band live with themselves?

rstevens How many buses could a Busey bus if a Busey could bus buses

rudepundit I wish corporations were people. I’d drag Bank of America out of a bar and kick its ass.

joeinverarity If you call girls “bitches,” I automatically assume you have a small, misshapen penis.

MakeMommyCoffee Nothing makes a girl feel more beautiful than when 1 of her eyelids swells to 2x it’s normal size. Enter villagers shouting “KILL THE BEAST”

luckyshirt There are going to be so many kids named Kirkland once Costco starts selling babies.

kitchenartist I wish this pie graph I’m working on was made of, or at least about, actual pie.

ordermeanother REMINDER: The beard is a gift, and gifts differ among men.

BenMcCool Morning TV makes me want to hurt people. Preferably the people responsible for morning TV.

InfiniteChicken What did you think about the end of ‘Inspection’? I think Bulba Fett lives. #confusedscifi

KeepingYouAwake Big news: Books-a-Million has a coffee shop in it, too! Also news: There are still bookstores! Take that, future!

slackmistress If I expect the unexpected then isn’t it expected and this is where I get eaten by clowns, I think.

LifeOfLiriope Why do sexy slut terms reference furry animals? Sex kitten, fuck bunny. I wanna be a skank snake. Hot or not? *hiss*

Mike_FTW No one at home is picking up so it’s safe to assume the dog ate them and I should start a new family. Also, they don’t want ice cream.

markleggett Almost choked to death at work on some broccoli. No way. I ain’t going out like that.

rrrobbed My phone told me I had a twitter message, but when I went to check it, there was nothing. DAMN YOU TWITTER, DON’T BE A TEASE, I’M SENSITIVE.

TwoAdults I am willing to bet that the Michelin Man and the Stay Puft Marshmallow guy are related.

VaginaDrum Getting donuts but BEFORE I DO, making sure not to shower or comb my hair or even resemble anything close to someone who can afford donuts.

shelbyfero I once put chocolate chips into a Hot Pocket so I can tell you a thing or two about dying alone.

peteec How about “Don’t wear white ever”, unless it’s all linen and you are also a Columbian cocaine king pin.

slackmistress This moisturizer promised to erase years of my life but I still remember 1991. 😦

hermbot BREAKING: Candy Corn is in season.

owlparliament All of this unemployment has really sharpened up my whistle’s vibrato.

TheDailyShow This is what you’re doing with your Labor Day? Sitting in your underwear checking Twitter? #writteninunderwear

nedroid Guess what, kids? When you’re an adult you can eat a birthday cake any day of the year. They don’t teach you that in school.

TheTweetOfGod Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Lick it. It lasts longer.

markleggett Scientists have yet to discover how to do their own hair in the mornings.

MassageByTed I’m Rubbin’ It!™ #OtherAwesomeMcDonaldsSlogans

kwmurphy Painting my new office. I’m color-blind, so I’ve chosen Fire Engine Green.

sarcasmically Mary Witucki, wherever you are, know that you’ll regret not taking this total stranger off your right-wing email list when I asked nicely.

ButternutSquash Just said to me “With an attitude like that, I’m never sucking his baby’s feet.” Lord, I do love a random conversation now and then.

miss_shortskirt My first massage ever in 90 minutes. I’M NERVOUS!!! What if I like it too much and cry because I can’t ever afford another?

MmeSurly I can only assume the PT Cruiser in front of me ran off the road just now because it became sentient and suddenly realized what it was.

TheNextMartha Wow. That mom picking up her kid must have forgot that those jean shorts she’s wearing show her labia.

InfiniteChicken In case you were curious, it is entirely possible to eat too much pineapple. Learn from my error.

benmarvin Pro Tip: Take your shirt off when you poop. Trust me.

BridgetCallahan I don’t know about you, but there are times when I really have to stop myself from posting Craigslist ads as performance art.

LastMomOnEarth Where can I get battery operated twinkle lights? If my girls are being wizards this year, they’re going to be spectacular wizards.

EvenMoreSarah Looking through Facebook & I see so much tattoo money that should have been spent on education or possibly dental work.

steenyweeny that sense of profound loss you’re all suddenly feeling is down to me forgetting my sunglasses at my desk.

kellyoxford It’s too bad that everyone who has a solution for everything is at home commenting on the internet.

CorporateMonkey it’s nice to feel wanted and all, but I hope getting hit on in that truck stop won’t be the highlight of my day. #roadtrip

apodixis I wish the cat poop were made of chocolate. Because then I would be like, look, there’s chocolate on the floor!

jordanlebaron My 8 year old thought a “Big Mac” was a new Apple computer.

JPHaddadio I got tennis elbow from opening bite size Snickers. But nobody knows what I’m talking about when I call it Snickers elbow.

theleanover There. Now any accusations I can’t lip sync perfectly to “Gold Soundz” will be false. Time to get back to work!

ScrewyDecimal Is there a way to say “Well, maybe you shouldn’t have waited until the last minute to do your book report” without sounding like my mother?

ToBreatheAgain Learning from the littlest family member. If you do a good job, you clap for yourself because you are so awesome.

ecareyo Hope everyone takes the “Shh, it’s a surprise!” part of my wedding invitation very seriously!

elloyd74 Accidentally typed “The Kitchen God’s Wide” instead of “Wife” into the library catalog. I hope so. I wouldn’t trust a skinny Kitchen God.

ghweldon When you turn & see that there’s only one set of footprints in the sand, that’s when Jesus was walking in your tracks to confound pursuers.

funnyoneliners Women shouldn’t have children after forty. Because, really, forty children should be enough.

WendiAarons Guy just walked in wearing a “New Dad” tshirt. With his newborn, dark circles & dazed wife, I don’t think he really needs it.

LIFECOACHERS When you were a child you thought as a child; now you are grown and must put away childish things. At least when other adults are looking.

GuyEndoreKaiser I bet dying vultures have lots of awkward moments with their friends.

pnkrcklibrarian When with my mother, I just want to open a vein and pipe the vodka directly in.

EvenMoreSarah Ugh this radio ad where they argue about how to say “caramel.” IT IS NOT ACTUALLY UP FOR DEBATE THERE ARE THREE SYLLABLES.

morninggloria Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s highly contagious.

What is Follow Friday? It’s a Twitter meme that I have taken a couple steps further.  Learn more about it in my FAQ. See my nomination for a Shorty Award for Follow Friday here. You can read more Follow Friday goodness here.

Recipes: Butternut Squash

6 Sep

One of the issues with meal planning that I run into over and over again is that of leftovers. Sometimes the problem isn’t even with the prepared food itself but with the uncooked portions I have leftover in the fridge. In this case, the food in question is butternut squash.

My friend Jake has been helping us with our garden and thanks to him we have both pumpkin and butternut squash plants in our yard. Gardening is way harder than I believed it to be, particularly so because we’re not using pesticides and all the local garden centers stopped carrying ladybugs months ago. Aphids are really kicking our ass over here, and Jacob finally came up with a solution involving spraying each goddamn bug with a magical, organic substance that will shred the critter and knock him to the ground, thereby preventing anymore identical bastards to pop out of his pooper, and, as Anthony put it, “ruin Halloween.”

All that aside, Jake’s plants have managed to produce butternuts, and they are awesome. He gave one to me and I immediately set about the task of slicing it into rounds and baking it. I was originally trying to make steamed disks of butternut so that I could slather them with goat cheese, honey and toasted pecans and feast thusly until my husband returned home from sword practice.

Of course I forgot about them in the oven so that didn’t happen.

I ate them anyway and realized that as divine as steamed squash could be, these were chips, and they were even better. I really think that Jake raised a superior squash because I’ve recreated this experiment a few times since then and while the results of have been delicious, that first squash I used was far and away superior. Perhaps the defining factor was the way that squash was made: it was small, had a very small globe end and a very long cylinder end. When I sliced it the squash divided into perfect disks. Squash I bought from the farmer’s market was too large, so I had to resort to slicing it into half-moon shapes.

After they were sliced I brushed them with olive oil and set them on a foil-lined baking tray. This is about the thickness I was going for.

As you can see from the photo, they weren’t all perfect and some were thinner and some were thicker. I divided up my squash moons into a thinner and a thicker pile so I could cook them in batches. This really wasn’t extra work because I couldn’t fit them all in at once anyway.

Some received a dusting of spices, including cinnamon, cumin, curry, and five spice powder. These were all very good, especially the cinnamon and curry powder, and just by adding the slight addition of powdered spice you could completely change the character of the chip. My favorite is still probably a sprinkling of sea salt, but don’t bother adding that until the chips are out of the oven. If you add it before baking the salt will pull the moisture from the chips and they will steam instead of bake.

I threw leftover chips in a large zippy bag and toasted them throughout the week. They suffered no ill effects from this treatment and could probably survive five or six days like that. Squash are hardy.

They come out like this, though I had quite a few burn and quite a few remain soft and stick. The handy thing about cutting them into rounds is that the skin helps the squash retain its shape and there’s less burning and steaming because you don’t have that bit of squash flesh at one end.

I roasted them for about 35 minutes at 400, but you really have to watch these guys carefully and will almost certainly have to adjust the time and temperature of your oven for their temperament. Mistakes will still be delicious, even if they aren’t chips. The burnt parts are almost completely caramelized plant sugars and they taste like toasted marshmallows.

If they end up too soft, break out the honey and the goat cheese or feta and enjoy them that way.

Chips aside, you are going to have leftover squash. The globe-like ends are not fit for chips, but scoop out the seeds, rub with oil and roast all the same.

After roasting these I mashed them with a fork, discarded the peel, and added them to shiitake risotto (made by adding dried shiitake mushrooms to the stock while it heats, then adding the sliced mushrooms and butternut puree to the plain risotto at the end) and Oh. My.

It was so good I nearly cried when I ate the last bowl. I served it to Anthony in these wooden bowls I salvaged from my bestie’s yard sale. The color of the squash mellows in the creamy whiteness of the risotto and Anthony thought the color came from cheddar cheese, but the pale orange is actually the squash. I threw a squash chip on top for garnish and added a dusting of cheese and for the next ten minutes my life was complete.

Other things I made with the leftover squash include a butternut squash puree which I later realized would have made a perfect baby food. I roasted and mashed the squash then added butter and crumbled feta along with salt and pepper. I decided then and there that all babies should eat so well.

I stirred the leftovers of the puree into a black bean  and bell pepper hash that I had in the fridge and it was so very good. If Jake gives me anymore I’m going to make soup. Do you have a favorite way to prepare butternut or other winter squash? I’d love to hear it. As the summer winds down I expect I’ll get a few thrown at my car when people are at a loss to deal with them.  I’ll point them this way for ideas.

Scrapbook: Spontaneous Dancing

28 Aug

Spontaneous dancing while at the Farmer’s Market.