Tag Archives: Cooking

Best of 2011: Little Big Kitchen

26 Dec

These are my favorite food-related posts from 2011.

Snapshot

30 Nov

Here’s what I’m up to:

– I have so much to talk about I might end up doing multiple snapshot posts this week. Forgive me.

The Jennui gave us these adorable bunny Converse in what feels like years ago but was really just in May. Isobel loved them so much she went absolutely apeshit for them and insisted on putting them on despite the fact that they were at least two sizes too big. She inevitably fell down a lot and looked like Sideshow Bob, so I put them away. Or at least, I thought I did. Every time she saw them in the upper reaches of her closet she went ballistic, demanding to wear them. I had to shove them inside her old sling for protection (hers? mine? the shoes’? Nay, I was protecting THE WORLD AT LARGE from her wrath). They mostly fit her now and she couldn’t me more pleased than if she was pooping pink rainbows out her baby buns.

– I think I scared people when I put out another call for guest posters. What I meant was that I’m planning a rough outline of my time, my projects, and consequently, my blog posts, through the new year. I’d like to feature a few guest posters here and there over the next few months. Not that I want to take the next few months off and have other people post exclusively. My wording must have fueled some worry because several people DMd and emailed me to ask if I was okay. I’m just peachy! Even with a few anxious rough patches I’m really doing well. I just have a couple special projects coming up that are going to take extra time so I was looking for a handful of people to step in for a day if things got crazy. Sorry to scare you!

– I’m having an Etsy sale! Save up to ten bucks on selected items! For more info, see this post.

– My phone is stupid and dumb. This is the epitome of a First World Problem, but I own an ancient 3G iphone that has been dropped on its head one too many times despite the case I lovingly contained it in after an unfortunate meeting with the tile floor of the girl’s upstairs C wing bathroom. I’ve been having problems texting and making my phone aware of my SIM card and the other day it freaked out so badly I had to restore it. BOO. I lost some very treasured photos and about a million sweet text messages and my phone still quite possibly is in the throes of Alzheimer’s.  There really isn’t a point to me sharing this with you, other than the venting of my frustration and the fact that it takes awhile to receive texts sometimes.

– You should add pomegranate seeds to your Greek yogurt. The way nature intended. I also made dirt candy with sweet potato and butternut squash, and oh sweet baby Jesus Picard with a hat on, it was by far the best dirt candy ever. Both of ’em. No need to roast. They were perfection. When friends would come over I’d make them sample it and by turns they were always confused, intrigued, and finally, addicted.

– I also made balsamic glazed mushrooms, sauteed garlic spinach, and baked sweet potatoes in the style of baked russets. It was a special occasion because Anthony was gone for the night playing D&D. I don’t cook sweet potatoes when he’s around because he despises them. I love him anyway because he gave sweet potatoes a shot and tried them three times in three different ways. Such a good sport. He still hated them after all that so I gave up trying to convert him to the fiber-rich beta carotene-goodness of the yam. I had never tried treating a  baked sweet potato like a baked potato before. Normally when I bake them I soak them in lime butter and zest and flake over plenty of sea salt and maybe a pinch of nutmeg. Eating it with sour cream and bacon and garlic chives was a wonderful experience.

– Speaking of yams, my friend Jose came over the day before Thanksgiving and brought me the largest sweet potato I have ever seen in my life ever. He also dropped by a stack of comics to disperse among the locals. Anybody interested? Valerie? Caleb? Jwa?

– Despite the fact that it’s becoming a bit chilly, Isobel still insist on playing with water outside. When we went to the library, she demanded to check out this book and then requested I take her picture with the library’s lion. We still haven’t showed her the movie Totoro because it would be too scary for her still, but we have been listening to the soundtrack that my friend Zack burned and decorated for me many years ago. It’s great to listen to while folding massive amounts of laaaaaaaaundry.

– I only just put my fall decorations away, and other than the Scandinavian table runner that was my Grandma’s, I haven’t gotten any decorations out yet. Everyone’s posts on IG and twitter are really inspiring me, though. I’ll have to put stuff out soon.

– This conversation happened a couple days after Thanksgiving:

J: Do you want to get a bite to eat somewhere, or do you just want to go home and have turkey?

C: I’ve had turkey for breakfast. I’ve had turkey for lunch. I had turkey twice the day before that and the day before that.

J: I get it. You probably also let a new European country into the Union.

C: Yes. It was Turkey.

Snapshot

16 Nov


Here’s what I’ve been up to:

– I’ve been looking for a countertop compost bin so I don’t have to keep a bowl with fruit and vegetable remnants in it on the counter. Which I suppose the compost bin would be doing anyway, except most of them are smaller and have lids. Have any recommendations?

– Have you seen crap at my parents’ house? Hilarious! Via Gisela.

– My friend Gen posts about mental illness in the blogosphere and how you can help end the stigma. You vote on Facebook, and if you know me you know I avoid Facebook at all costs, but even I voted. Also, Gen is funny, honest, and she writes about motherhood in a way I admire. Check out the love letter her son wrote her for further proof of her awesomeness.

– I’m trying to come up with Christmas card ideas that will beat last year’s awesome card. You’ve seen last year’s card, right? I honestly don’t know if I can top that.

– Tomorrow I’m starting the ambitious project of reorganizing the storage method for my entire etsy shop. This project is enormous. I have only listed a small percentage of what I actually have on hand for the shop.

– In food news, my mother gave me the rudest butternut squash. I plan to make a cheeky soup. Or chips. Or more dirt candy. (Or should I say, dirty candy?)

– I’ve been stirring shards of bacon and pomegranate seeds into my oatmeal in the morning. I love salty-sweet, and pomegranates and bacon are two of my most favorite things. I’m pretty sure bacon has worn-out its fashionable chicness after years in the limelight, but I’ll never tire of its fatty, salty charms.

– Now that the bounty of my garden is starting to fade, I’m cooking and using everything I can, including drying some of my herbs in the oven, in this case, catnip. I’ll got some questions about this on twitter, so I’ll be posting a tutorial later. In the meantime, I’m going to look up some tutorials for homemade cat toys.

– It’s official–I’m hooking again. Years ago a coworker taught me to crochet (a challenge, as I’m left-handed and she was right-handed). I crocheted lots of scarves and several blankets. I even have a rarely-used Ravelry account. I crocheted constantly until my coworker and friend’s baby passed away. I had just finished her baby blanket and the whole situation was so devastatingly heartbreaking that I just didn’t feel like crocheting after that for a long time. I’d pick up the yarn and start think about what happened and I’d just put it down again.  Now I feel like I can give it another go.

– The other day Isobel was really whining. It was the sort that didn’t even involve words, just a steady stream of uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh for hours on end. Finally, I could take no more, so I said, “Isobel, you need to stop whining. If you need something, please use your words. But no more whining!” Finally, the noises ceased.

A pause, and then, “Mama?”

“Yes, Isobel?”

“Do you want to play whining for a little while?”

Snapshot

9 Nov

Here’s what I’m up to:

– I’m really excited Top Chef has started up again. I love Top Chef. I do not, however, love their weird try-outs gimmick for the first couple of shows. I’m ready for that to be over and for shit to finally get real.

– My fantastic in-laws took Isobel for a portrait sitting the day we went to the Warrior Dash. Even though you probably know how I feel about portrait photography places, I always look forward to getting the photos because my kid is absolutely adorable.

– Speaking of adorable kids, Kingston came over last weekend and he and Isobel played together beautifully. They’ve reached some developmental sweet spot where they can play and interact with each other withing constant supervision and territory disputes. We still had to watch them, of course, and enforce the necessary sharing treaties as we saw fit, but overall, they were less work together than they were on their own, which is the sort of milestone we’ve been waiting semi-patiently for for over two years. At one point, they were having so much fun than when Angela checked on them she noticed they had knocked over the cat’s scratching post and were both straddling it like it was a horse, saying, “WHEEE!” and “YEEHAW!

– Isobel and I have been cooking together a whole lot since I discovered the therapeutic benefits of the the kitchen. She loves to help.

Isobel packed a suitcase so she can go to China and see the baby pandas.

– Every time you @-reply me on twitter my phone buzzes so Isobel picks it up and says, “Hello? Hi? How are you?” and sometimes, “I can’t hear you.”

– Handfuls of pomegranate seeds and dark chocolate chips make a great dessert when no one’s watching.

– I am overall feeling better. Since the panic attacks I’ve been seeing my therapist more frequently than before and that has helped immensely. I do intend to thank everyone personally for all the kindness and support I’ve received. You all have been so kind.

– Most of my updates today seem to be Isobel-related. I’ve been doing things that are not Isobel-related, such as reading The Woman Who Loved Reindeer, which I enjoyed, and starting Curses, Inc. I also shot some more portrait photography this weekend and learned to play the Star Trek Deck Building Game, which is super fun despite the fact that I suck at it.

– Oh! I also made that salad in the photo above from leftovers in the fridge: spring greens, tomatoes from Jake’s garden, bacon, cooked roast chicken, pomegranate seeds and a dressing made up of the rendered bacon fat and red wine vinegar. Very yum. This salad came about as part of an attempt to use up everything we have in the fridge and save money while still being delicious.

Homemade Christmas & Tamari Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

7 Nov

Working in the kitchen has been a balm for my anxiety. The chopping, the washing, the sauteing all help divert my scattered, restless thoughts away from anxious tangents. The inherent rhythm of chop chop chop chop has become my mantra. Cooking is my meditation. Dinner is my devotion.

We have so many seeds from the pumpkins we grew that I’m planning to roast them in batches with a different set of seasonings each time. In addition to the three fat pumpkins we harvested from the backyard my friend and gardening-partner-in-crime Jake gave us the pumpkin he grew as well. It’s an embarrassment of pumpkin riches.

After cleaning the flesh from the seeds by soaking them in brine overnight, I doused them heavily in tamari, the milder, more complex Japanese soy sauce. I roasted them for 45 minutes at 300 degrees. They came out a bit saltier than I’d like so I’ll need to adjust the amount of soy, but they have a robust, almost smoky flavor.

One of the reasons I’m testing out different spice combinations is because the holidays are right around the corner and I’m looking for gifts I can make cheaply and in batches. This year my friends and I have decided to have an exclusively Handmade Christmas. If it can be found in a thrift store (the only exception), cooked, baked, or otherwise handcrafted, it counts. None of us can afford an extravagant Christmas, and aside from a few stocking stuffers and thrifted goodies I’ve already set aside for Isobel, that goes for family, too.

Going down to one income in this economy is way harder than I thought it’d be. I don’t regret my decision to stay home for a minute, but I do have to admit I had unrealistic expectations about how difficult the financial transition would be. Finally, with two incomes in decent jobs we were making enough money to do more than get by when I quit my job. But I know things won’t always be this way. Anthony is still establishing himself in his career and I’m continuing to make extra money through photography and my Etsy shop. (Speaking of, stop by my shop during the holidays! I always include extra vintage goodies to customers I know personally.)

My friends are all in the same boat, most of them dealing with crushing student debt, lack of employment options, and the dreaded foreclosure. So, in the tradition of making lemons out of lemonade, we’re going the inexpensive route. Handmade can certainly be expensive, but I’m on the lookout for crafts that are inexpensive, easy enough for a novice, and not incredibly time consuming. I have some ideas I’ll share later (once I figure out what I’m going to make), but I’d love to hear any suggestions you have or click on any Pinterest links you want to send my way.

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: Toy Kitchen

3 Oct

It started while I was thrifting, when Isobel tagged along beside me, grabbing things out of bins or trying on hats when she thought I wasn’t looking. Or maybe it really started before that, when she sad on the ground as a baby, digging through my measuring cups and playing with spoons. Then, it occurred to me: I could start building her a collection of thrifted kitchen items to play with. Her own mini thrifted kitchen.

You can probably tell my favorite area of the thrift store is the kitchen paraphernalia. I’ve talked about it a couple of times. (And I have more planned for the future.) It’s just that vintage kitchens are so charming and so interesting and generally very well-made. It was only natural, then, especially since I have Isobel along with me when I shop, to start buying toys for her in this aisle.

Children’s kitchen toys aren’t expensive. In fact you can come by them very, very cheaply. In many cases there is nothing wrong with a regular ol’ pot and pan set, and you can even find some really cute ones without looking very far. Why then, go to the effort of building a thrifted kitchen? Simple: It’s more fun. You can build a whole cooking set based just on things you find secondhand. The best play knives I’ve seen were actually (totally blunt, completely dull) cheese knives in the bin at my favorite religious charity shop. I could find a dozen small saucepans and mini loaf pans in under and hour if I wanted to. Spoons, ladles, all manner of spatulas can be found for a few cents and make wonderful accessories to a child’s play kitchen.

The first thing I bought for the thrifted play kitchen was plastic fruit and vegetables. These are better than all the plastic food versions I’ve seen for kids, and it was less than a dollar for all this and more (Isobel was playing with some of the fruit at the time). The best part about this display food is that it’s healthier than most of the fake food items you can buy. I bought a bag of children’s play food for a dollar at a yard sale before Isobel was born. The healthiest thing in it was frozen carrots. It seems like I can find some healthier versions now that don’t include only canned or boxed vegetables, but I’ve yet to see a set than includes the variety and detail that this set has. Sure, it might be out there. But I found this (in an attractive display basket) for fifty cents.

(A word of warning, as with anything you give your child, especially if it’s not a toy meant for young kids, watch for hazardous parts. I have several bunches of plastic grapes that I put in the attic because she could pluck off those plastic globes and choke on them.)

You can find full-sized small saucepans easily, as I mentioned, but Isobel loved playing with these metal measuring cups. She put them the DIY kitchen my Aunt made her before we bought her a toy kitchen. She filled them with plastic hot dogs and wooden wedges of cheese. She’d shake her sealed jar of pink sprinkles in for seasoning and then she’d lift it directly to her lips, sipping loudly, before exclaiming, “Yummy!”

This mitt is perfect for a four or a five year old.

I’m not exactly sure what these were used for, but their long handles suggest they are for open fire cooking, maybe part of a camping set. I really don’t know but I adore their orange color.

I bought these at an estate sale wherein I had a very embarrassing moment. I walked in the door and immediatley I could see three paths to take: the living room, the family room, or the kitchen. Obviously, I chose the kitchen area and became fascinated by an antique kettle. I rushed forward for a closer look (sensing others in the kitchen who might also want it) before realizing it was full of hot coffee and the ladies in the kitchen were running the sale. Which was all piled in the living and family rooms.

This thrifted gravy  boat is perfect for Isobel’s kitchen. It’s to tiny, yet perfectly proportioned like a real gravy boat. Zorro must have known I’d want to take a photo of it next to something else for scale, so he obliged.

I found this miniscule whisk and this small ice cream cup on the same trip, and Isobel loves to play with them together as if she thinks they are part of a set. Usually when I’m cooking she’s on a step stool right next to me and sometimes she’ll be stirring her little bowl with this whisk while I cook.

The pot in the background was my great aunts and it was hers as a child. It’s circa 1900 and has held up remarkably well. The miniature pan next to it came from my Nana and is surprisingly not a toy. It was part of her Revereware cookware set. It’s the perfect size for melting butter or heating up a bit of leftover sauce or chocolate in the days before microwaves. Little saucepans like this used to be common.

The watering can is usually kept with the kitchen stuff. It just is. I pulled it off a wreath for a nickle and Isobel likes to “water” indoor things with it.

The tiny rolling pin came from the same estate sale where I totally embarrassed myself and the tea scoop is a measuring cup for flour. I talked a bit about the blue tea cups here.

Collecting all these things only serves a purpose if your kid likes them enough to play with them.

Which, fortunately, mine does. They are some of her favorite toys and the first thing she reaches for when she wants to play, “cook.” I’m always thrifting and on the lookout for more items to add to her collection. In terms of price and charm, secondhand is definitely the way to go.

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.

Follow Friday – OMFN

2 Sep

I recently did a photo shoot for my local chef friend Valerie who wanted to design a menu with photos. They came out so mouthwatering I thought I’d share them. Feel free to be very jealous of me – I got to take home and eat almost everything I shot that day. OMFN is just something I made up, changing Oh My Fucking God to Oh My Fucking Nom. It seemed appropriate at the time and many times since then besides.

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.

LaurelKS My anniversary is tomorrow! It’s the first one, so I don’t need to be this excited again for four more years!

Squirreljustice The ball boys at the US Open, who scurry across the court all hunched over and shit, are clearly stealing my walk of shame technique.

letsgetgizzy If I ever fall in love, I want Michel Gondry to direct it.

hotdogsladies Somehow, I feel like I could get a lot more accomplished if I hired three lady backup singers in leather pants.

jenstatsky When I say a woman “seems like she has her shit together,” that’s basically me saying, “Pretty sure she shaves her legs more often than I do.”

a_outburst Literally spent hours mowing our lawn. I think we need sheep.

burnstand Funk is like the most gentle, caring, understanding lover I’ve ever had.

Athenabee I feel that I need to expose even more of myself online. One time I farted and it was so bad my kid cried. #OvershareWednesday

sbellelauren just thought about orlando bloom and fell down the stairs.

TheSuniverse So gassy today. Let’s be friends.

slackmistress “She’s two cats away from giving up completely.” – ad agency describing the target audience for Pajama Jeans

jberthume I keep trying to play Deus Ex, but my old asserts itself and I get sleepy.

sgnp Rants before pants! #OneSyllableRhymingXBeforeY

premmeridian Gongs before schlongs. #OneSyllableRhymingXBeforeY

JillMorris 91% of Facebook pokes are cries for help.

apodixis God I hope you can’t get herpes by reading someone’s timeline.

PinkPeonies Dear Justin Beiber: I had those glasses first.

notthatkendall “…And then we can play Words with Friends for forever.” – Me to everyone foolish enough to start a game with me

oodja Seriously thinking of changing “DO NOT REMOVE THIS BAND” to “PLEASE REMOVE THIS BAND”, if only to get the contrarians to obey #illwtf

theRratedBull I like to reflect on my life but whenever I do it ignites like an ant under a magnifying glass.

LIFECOACHERS We can’t move on unless we forgive. So it looks like we’ll be staying right fucking here.

ibrill Broken Face #PixiesSuperheroes

sexbiscuit Silver Surfer Rosa #PixiesSuperheroes

apelad Bone Machine #PixiesSuperheroes

sgnp Mister Grieves #PixiesSuperheroes

sgnp Nimrod’s Son #PixiesSuperheroes

johnmoe Debaser #PixiesSuperheroes

knitterplease Tony #PixiesSuperheroes

abdpbt Mini says he wants to read a book. OK, I say. He brings down Deceit, Desire, & The Novel. I tell him I think he’s going to be disappointed.

TheRedQueen Talking to my boss is like taking to a brick wall. Only I think the brick wall is more enjoyable.

HAL9000_Scientists think that there is a supernova in Galaxy M101 – it’s actually a regular nova with its underwear on top of its pants

jszyd I watched Jersey Shore for the first time the other day. I’ve decided I want to move there and pursue a career in murder.

WowItsStephen 1 songwriting duo wrote the themes for Ducktales, TaleSpin, Rescue Rangers, & Gummi Bears. Suck it, Simon & Garfunkel. Suck it slooow.

trumpetcake When people call me a “simpleton” I’m all like, “What that noise you make from your eating hole?” Then I gaze at the sun for an hour.

ieatmykidzsnack I guess Twitter is broken. This is why we can’t have nice things.

michaeljnelson Another unconventional come-on “I’ll give you six dollars to eat this package of hot Chinese mustard. You look like you can handle it.”

badbanana Hey, wait a minute. Did you guys know you can just buy donuts at a store and not even go into work?

UnicornFlavored The Long Beach Antique Market follows over 2,000 people, and recently stopped following me. Over 2,000 people are less annoying than me.

BetterOffJen So maybe Mark and Donnie can make a go of Wahlburgers, but don’t ask me to join you for a hot dog on Boogie Nights Night.

adambuckled People’s horoscope tweets should come as @ replies. I always think they’re telling ME I may be afraid to commit today.

GailSimone According to the Final Destination movies, God is a serial killer.

CourtneyReimer “There are no second acts in American lives and there are no quick trips to Ikea.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, unedited version

adambonin America Shrugged #bachmannbooknames

adambonin Prejudice and Prejudice. #bachmannbooknames

morepete Are you there, God? It’s me, Crazy Eyes. #bachmannbooknames

stray Four words: “pimp my book truck”. The mind boggles. Flame decals! Spinners! Ground effects! BookTruckNutz!

heyrenees According to facebook the kid with rage issues in my 5th grade class turned out more normal than I did.

johnmoe I’m takin’ names and changin’ games. I’m winnin’ sports and wearin’ jorts. I’m eatin’ puddin’ with Cuba Goodin’. Junior.

pnkrcklibrarian I am going to be that girl who will not be eyeing you lasciviously, but your cheese plate.

theRratedBull When I was a young teenage Vampire I didn’t have any paranormal romances. I mean… let’s get real – pimples don’t sparkle.

The_Daver With coffee, all things are possible.

misskubelik Wow, Emmett Till is trending. I am going to allow myself 30 seconds to feel better about humanity and how TT works.

danforthfrance If I tweeted the way AT&T “provides” Internet, they’d all be like t

MakeMommyCoffee Was going to tweet about how parenthood hasn’t changed my self image but couldn’t get my toddler to stop rummaging in my bra long enough

shinyinfo I read a tweet that said “Dumbledore” as “DumbleCore” and I was like, “I’d listen to that.” #CrazyBrain

lauracope the cake pops at @Starbucks are even better if you let them melt a little in the sun. i think my mouth just got pregnant.

lilpyrogirl The inside of my purse has now managed to jostle open two prescription bottles with child-proof caps. I think my purse has a drug problem.

JerryThomas Also, waffles. RT @DalaiLama I feel that a sense of compassion is the most precious thing there is.

Keex714 Someone tell Jerry Lewis to STOP having kids.

rstevens I wish I got paid to be an asshole. My dad always says it’s important to love what you do.

theleanover Bieber? I don’t even know her!

Bethazon most adorable little kid ever just followed instructions, used dewey numbers and found his book. sometimes, the universe smiles.

JVdesigns Whoever said glitter is the herpes of the craft world should alert the girl in the Twilight shirt outside my office to what this implies.

elloyd74 “We never fight in bed. The grandparents in ‘Willy Wonka’ really knew how to make a marriage work.”

sarcasmically One day I will grow up and stop giggling at this street near our house called “Pack Wood”. Today is not that day.

apelad I am at back to school night. Paste still tastes the same!

Lilacmess My new favorite line from a student essay: “the island was a paradise of tyranny and meat.” I think my husband would like that place.

Greeblemonkey If you questioned Steve Jobs’ reach, the landscaping guys at the table next to me are discussing him and his career at length.

johnmoe “Farewell, Steve Jorbs!” – Coach Z

placito “Why do people care so much about Steve Jobs resigning?” he said as he typed on a square of glass that contained all the music he ever owned.

Pres_Bartlet Well, at least people are talking about Jobs.

scottsimonsWVLA If I ever hang out w/ Pitbull I’m going to make sure to tell him that when he says “Hotel, Motel” that pretty much covers “Holiday Inns” too.

swedishpancake my husband just remembered the name of a too white crew album. I may be rethinking our marriage.

jenstatsky Decided to start going by a pen name. Best I’ve come up with so far is “Bic Papermate.”

EugeniaMorpho @exlibris When I see a mug that says “Love brings rainbows”, I think “Somebody missed grade two science class.”

NicLewis #YourStarshipCaptainMightBeARedneckIf he converted a photon torpedo into a synthehol still.

jawillie #YourStarshipCaptainMightBeARedneckIf If the Captain’s Chair doubles as a Hover-round scooter.

papanic #YourStarshipCaptainmightbeaRedneckif the biggest trouble he has with tribbles is that they are undocumented.

PoisonFox #YourStarshipCaptainmightbeaRedneckif the shuttlecraft are on cinder blocks.

PoisonFox #YourStarshipCaptainmightbeaRedneckif his First Officer is a Basset Hound.

jenifersf #YourStarshipCaptainMightBeARedneckIf He orders you to set phasers to bear, deer or possum.

ChrisDoohan #YourStarshipCaptainmightbeaRedneckif he refers to Klingons as “Critters”

jenifersf #YourStarshipCaptainmightbeaRedneckif He has a working navigation console sitting on top of a non-working navigation console.

swallen62 #YourStarshipCaptainmightbeaRedneckif instead of saying “make it so number one” he says “get ‘er done cuz!”

Mike_FTW Anderson Cooper: “Well, something definitely blew its way through the firehouse last night.”

ecareyo Do people still barter in times of emergency? I’ve got plenty of things I can do without (looks at my college diploma, all of 2005 and 2008)

michael_J_m00n This hurricane is making me so nervous I just evacuated.

tcarmody Like most indie bands, it looks like Hurricane Irene was a lot more rough-edged & powerful before selling out and moving to New York.

Seth_Fried If your apartment is hit by a dolphin, DO NOT GO OUT TO SEE IF THE DOLPHIN IS OKAY. That’s how the hurricane tricks you into coming outside.

dirtyvicar Edward or Jacob. Peeta or Gale. Betty or Veronica. People pretend to enjoy love triangles, but what they really want are threeways.

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.

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!