Thursday, November 30, 2006

Oh, right! THAT’S why I started this blog…

I am still getting produce delivered. I have settled in a nice bi-weekly delivery schedule that allows me to both cook and eat out without ending up with lots of slimy vegetables in the fridge. This is what came this week:

Portabello Mushrooms
Spinach
Broccoli
Cucumbers
Zucchini
Butternut Squash
Carrots
Gala Apples
Bartlett Pears
Navel Oranges
Bananas

A few things before the recipes: I now crave bananas. How odd is that?? As most of you know I was never a banana eater. I am now a banana craver. Craziness. Secondly the butternut squash that came this week are the smallest, cutest butternut squash I have ever seen. Butternut squash for one. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with them (there are two) as I still have soup in the freezer leftover from the dinner party, but they are damn cute.

Besides the produce delivery I have bounty from Trader Joes this week. (I am usually a shrewd shopper, I always have a list, and limit myself to one or two “treats.” Last night though? Last night every freaking thing that had a colorful/shiny package ended up in the cart. Cookies, crackers, cheese, soup, vanilla paste. Vanilla paste!?)

This is what I have/plan to cook(ed):

Cucumber Tsatsiki
(use fage greek yogurt in this and you don’t have to strain it)(I love this stuff, eat it by the bowlful)
Zucchini Pie
(repeat recipe, very good.)
Braised Red Cabbage with Sausage and Apples
Tilapia in Mustard Cream Sauce
Turkey Tonnato
(Repeat recipe, also very good. I know Turkey in Tuna sauce sounds weird, but try it, you’ll like it.)
Spinach with Dried Cranberries and Pine Nuts - MOB’s aforementioned recipe.
The Rainbow Room’s Carrot and Peanut Salad from Forever Summer by Nigella Lawson
(I’m going to learn to like carrots if it kills me. This recipe is helping.)

Monday, November 27, 2006

50 pounds of carrots

I have been meaning to post about my volunteer work with Food and Friends.

Someone way back commented asking about how much cooking one gets to do at Food and Friends. In my experience there hasn’t been much cooking. But then I volunteer mid-week, mid-afternoon and it seems like most of the cooking is done in the morning and in the evening.

So what do I do if I’m not cooking? Well, I individually package food (apples, scones, frozen omelets) (On that note- frozen omelets = scary.) I package meals (they put together multiple kinds of meals depending on the preferences and nutritional needs of the clients, vegetarian, diabetic, etcetera.) And I have gotten to do some prep work, cleaning and chopping things. In fact, last week I was handed a 50 pound bag of carrots to peel, trim, and halve.

Yes indeed, 50 pounds of carrots is a lot of carrots. And they weren’t your run of the mill grocery store carrots, but restaurant supply industrial size carrots! But I have to say, I was working alone, and it was very satisfying work, and actually kinda meditative.

In short while being at Food and Friends hasn’t really given me professional kitchen experience or vastly improved my knife skills, it has been fun, the people are very nice, and I feel good about doing something other than (constantly) indulging my own personal whims.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Saturday Foodie Fun:
Dinner Party!!
(dinner for 28,
Saturday November 11, 2006)

Roasted Shallot Custard
Caramelized Fennel with Celery Root
Forest Mushroom Terrine
(These recipes are from the book
Amuse-Bouche by Rick Tramonto
)

Butternut Squash Soup with Brown Butter, Sage, and Nutmeg Crème Fraiche
(from Bouchon by Thomas Keller)

Spinach, Pine Nut, and Pomegranate Salad

Oven-Braised Cornish Hens with Cider Vinegar and Warm Vegetable Sauce

Maple-Walnut Shortbread and Burnt Carmel Ice Cream

Chocolate Earl Grey Cake

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Vermont

The lovely W&JS hosted me in Vermont for a vacation at the end of October. We indulged in many different ways. We slept in, we sat and talked for hours, we watched Grey’s Anatomy (This doesn’t sound like an indulgence but consider this: neither of us have TV. So we watched Grey’s Anatomy on DVD. Er, DVDs. Plural. Many hours of very satisfying brain rot to make up for lost time.) And, of course, we ate!

We did some cooking and discovered that a pumpkin is not always a pumpkin. (Apparently there are decorative pumpkins and eating pumpkins. If you want to make pumpkin soup, you need the latter, not the former. However, with enough heavy cream, even the former can be enjoyable.) I also dragged an old favorite recipe from the back of my brain: officially “Peanut Butter Spirals” from the Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook. Basically pasta with a nice, not too heavy peanut sauce, served with broccoli. Also on the pumpkin theme, this time with an appropriate pumpkin, we made a pumpkin pie with a delicious cinnamon graham cracker crust.

And we shopped, and ate out:

Laughing Moon Chocolates, Stowe - The perfect little one room chocolate shop. So much handmade chocolate, so little time.

Cabot Cheese Annex Store, Waterbury – Not the actual Cabot factory, but close enough. I think the Horseradish Cheddar was our favorite that day.

The American Flatbread Company, Burlington - Great flatbread “pizza” (and I had a yummy Allagash White to drink.)

Boyden Valley Winery, Cambridge - A tiny little winery with all sorts of interesting fruit wines. We arrived an hour early (Daylight savings! Whoops!) and got a quick wine tasting and tour.

Lake Champlain Chocolates, Burlington - So much mass produced, yet handmade, chocolate so little time.

Sakura Japanese Restaurant, Burlington - Sushi. Yum.

Thank you to W&JS for an interesting, entertaining, relaxing, and delicious vacation!