Saturday, November 03, 2007

I've switched my food blog over to i8 was taken :(

Come by and visit me there! I like wordpress better than blogger.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I made a big batch of pesto on Sunday, but accidentally ground up part of my pink silicone spatula in the Cuisinart. Fortunately it was not a green spatula, and the pieces were easy to locate. The basil was from the farmer’s market, as was the cheese–absolutely delicious raw milk Trader’s Point Fleur de la Terre–and I used walnuts instead of pine nuts because the downtown Bloomingfoods doesn’t carry pine nuts. Booo! I put two Tbsp of pesto into each Saran wrap-lined cup of my muffin tin, and froze the pesto into little cakes, and put the frozen pesto cakes into some Ziploc freezer bags so I can enjoy the taste of summer basil all winter long.

Dinner tonight will come from one of my favorite cookbooks, Lindsay Bareham's Supper Won't Take Long. Sort of, anyway. It's a dish called Brown Tom; the only reference I could find to this on the internet came, coincidentally, from Martinsville, IN: the Morgan County Longrifles site informs us that "Brown Tom was the nickname given to the standard ration bread issued to the British military." Bareham's recipe is for a gratin of tomatoes, brown bread, flat leaf parsley, garlic, and onion. My onions seem to have dissolved into a goo at the bottom of my crisper drawer, so I ended up using lots of garlic instead, and I had no flat leaf parsley. Also, I ignored her advice to peel the tomatoes first.

So my Brown Tom is really pretty different, and I don't know if you can really call it the same thing. I pureed some of the white and whole wheat rolls my mom made while she was here (I've been eating them, but there sure are a lot of them) into bread crumbs, minced about four cloves of garlic, and mixed the crumbs and garlic up in a casserole dish with slices of red farmer's market tomatoes, salt, and pepper. I sprinkled some parmesan on top, drizzled the crumbs with soy sauce and olive oil, and stuck one of my pesto-cubes smack in the middle. I hope it tastes good. It seems like it should, in theory. I will find out soon.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Some interesting stuff I've eaten lately:
- Yummy quinoa salad at Angela and Pete's house: quinoa with parsley and mint, dressed with a garlic-lemon juice-olive oil dressing, mixed with chopped tomatoes.
- Water buffalo yogurt. It's pretty creamy, but sort of a weird, smooth, firm texture rather than the creamier type I prefer.
- Malabar spinach, bought from Jennie and Rebecca at the farmer's market. I thought about growing this for a while--it's recommended by permaculture books as a perennial green (permaculture is big into growing perennials rather than annuals; it's supposedly much easier on the ecosystem). It's... um... interesting. And by "interesting," I mean "slimy." Like okra, it gives off tons of mucilage, especially the stems. I cooked it with ramen and threw in a couple of beaten eggs for protein. I was kind of appalled as I was eating it and the sliminess gradually dawned on me, and had to look it up to make sure it wasn't rotting or anything. The flavor seemed pretty nice and inoffensive. The slime was just something else. I bet it would be good in gumbo, though.
- Mom and I also did a lot of baking when she was visiting--she made rolls, both white and whole wheat, and I helped her make a whole wheat crust custard apple pie with Jonathan apples from the farmer's market. Yummy!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Yesterday, September 15, was Joseah's birthday, so we had him, Beth, Jeanne, and Steve over for dinner and a screening of David Lynch's Inland Empire (horrible). Jeanne and Steve brought some of their homebrewed beer and delicious homemade mac and cheese--the secret is apparently Worcestershire sauce and dry mustard. I made salsa with some red and yellow farmer's market tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, bottled lime juice, salt, garlic, and some rare chiles we bought from the Chile Woman at the market--I believe they were called Arrivivi Gusano. They were very hot, but with a wonderful fruity taste; half were unripe green and half were pale yellow, and they were perhaps an inch long and fairly thin and tapered. I also made some almond thumbprint cookies from the Joy of Cooking, minus the almonds. I made a few with Maine blueberry jam, for Rahul, and for most of them I used spoonfuls of peach jam Joseah's mom had sent him for his birthday, and that he'd brought over to share. It was all very nice. We had hash browns and eggs at Wee Willie's, went to the farmer's market, and went to the Bloomingfoods grand opening, where I got a free chair massage and some free soap samples.

Today I was woken up with breakfast in bed! I didn't actually eat it in bed, but I was incredibly thrilled to wake up to hash browns, cottage cheese, and a vegetable omelet with sweet red pepper, onion, olives, and spinach.

I made an easy casserole for dinner: emptied a can of organic rice and beans into a glass pie pan, mixed it with a chopped fresh tomato, red onion, fresh spinach, and topped it with some shredded cheese, then baked at 350 for about 20 minutes, turned it up to 450 for the last 10 minutes to brown the cheese.

Now I'm trying to catch up on work and readings for class--spent all day in the library watching the videos I'd missed--and I'm feeling very tired.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Best bento boxes ever:

Friday, September 07, 2007

A few yummy things to report:
- I ate paw paws last weekend (Labor Day weekend) thanks to Jeanne, who stopped by early in the morning from her shift at the Bloomingfoods stall to pick some up. They were much better when old and soft and brown, and tasted somewhere between banana, mango, and papaya, with a bit of papaya-ish kerosene taste that kept me from fully enjoying them.
- I made cornmeal pancakes with frozen corn kernels and they were really crunchy and good.
- I also made buckwheat pancakes with buckwheat flour from the WIBS mill at the farmer's market, and then tried to make a sourdough-starter buckwheat bread loaf, but it didn't rise. It was really good when fresh out of the oven, though, with that browned grain flavor bread should have.
- I made a tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes and basil from the farmer's market. I think we ate this with rotini.
- I made a tomato stew with Quorn pieces, green olives, fresh tomatoes, basil, cinnamon, cumin, oregano, and sweet peppers from the farmer's market. We ate this over couscous with sauteed mushrooms.
- Went to Camie's house a few days ago, on Sept 5th, where she and Laura showed us how to make salsa, beans, and fresh corn and flour tortillas. I made huevos rancheros the next morning with some leftover refried pink beans and chipotle salsa. Delicious!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

We had a pretty nice weekend, I think, full of many of the simple domestic pleasures I missed in our studio apartment in Cleveland. Yesterday morning we biked up to the farmer's market and bought a few things. Jennie and Rebecca were there, though without any yarn or roving to buy (and the sportweight alpaca lady wasn't there either!). We chatted about spinning briefly, and I bought some plump Pink Lady and small dark Brandywine tomatoes, and a huge, fragrant, flowery bunch of basil with sharp pointed leaves--it looks like Thai holy basil, but green, not purple. They threw in a small round watermelon along with it. The folks from Wibs were there for the last time this year with their loudly chugging red enameled mill pouring out cornmeal, so I stocked up: 2 lbs buckwheat flour in a white cloth sack, 2 lbs white cornmeal, and 4 lbs whole-wheat flour. The fresh sage at another booth looked so nice, I had to pick some up despite having no plans for it. And it was mainly the thought of having to carry anything else on my bike that kept me from going crazy over the huge variety of summer heirloom tomatoes. We went to the library, I divested myself of three trash bags full of clothes at Goodwill, and I made whole wheat rotini with fresh tomato sauce (seasoned with hot peppers from our Thai bird pepper plant, which grew insanely huge and leafy under Jeanne's care over the summer).

Today, I made John Thorne's buckwheat pancakes--I think the recipe is from Serious Pig--which we ate with maple syrup and melted butter. Not bad, not great either. I think fermenting longer would help. I uncharacteristically attempted to clean the bathtub. Then we went to the Bryan Park pool and I went down the two waterslides about a million times. The sun is shining, cicadas are buzzing, Bloomington looks green and fresh and summery still.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

We had Charlie and Defne over for dinner (plus a late-night postprandial swim in our clothes)

The menu:
- aperitifs of Charlie's fancy, fragrant French absinthe poured into a glass, with cold water slowly poured into it through a sugarcube on a cut silver spoon, till the liquid was a cloudy pale yellow
- green leaf lettuce salad with walnuts, dressed with chopped shallots, lemon juice, flaxseed oil, EVOO, sweet and spicy mustard, salt, pepper, dried tarragon, and dried thyme
- sauteed asparagus dressed with herb and fried shallot compound butter
- crisp-fried polenta slices (not fresh--we bought a tube from the store) topped with a tomato sauce made from canned crushed tomatoes, soffritto (garlic, onion, carrot, celery), a fresh chopped tomato, a bay leaf, fresh basil from Aarthi's garden, oregano, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper; and sauteed white button mushrooms
- red lentils cooked with soy sauce, garlic, soffritto (garlic, onion, carrot, celery), fresh rosemary from Aarthi's garden, dried oregano, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, chopped fresh tomatoes, soy sauce, fresh parsley, fresh chopped spinach, bay leaf, salt, and pepper
- rice pudding: a cup or so of brown basmati rice gently cooked, uncovered, with a can of coconut milk and water, seasoned with cardamom pods, vanilla extract, lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, star anise, dark brown sugar, a tiny pinch of salt, and maple syrup from Steve and Amalia's farm.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A nice dinner for one (Rahul is in Georgia, eating pecan pie):
Wash and cut up half a cauliflower into florets. Toss in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a sheet of foil on a baking sheet. Cut the top off a head of garlic and pour some olive oil inside. Wrap it up in the corner of the foil. Bake it all in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. In the meantime, boil some water and make a handful of linguine.
When it's ready, the cauliflower will be a deep, toasty brown on most sides, and the garlic will be soft and browned.
Squeeze out the roasted garlic into a bowl. Mix with the cauliflower and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes.
A nice dinner for one (Rahul is in Georgia, eating pecan pie):
Wash and cut up half a cauliflower into florets. Toss in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a sheet of foil on a baking sheet. Cut the top off a head of garlic and pour some olive oil inside. Wrap it up in the corner of the foil. Bake it all in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. In the meantime, boil some water and make a handful of linguine.
When it's ready, the cauliflower will be a deep, toasty brown on most sides, and the garlic will be soft and browned.
Squeeze out the roasted garlic into a bowl. Mix with the cauliflower and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

We had Steve, Jeanne, Steve's friend Omar, Tim, and Trevor over for dinner tonight. It was a lovely sunny day, mostly spent shopping and cooking. We cleaned and vacuumed the house, and I had a bouquet of purple dame's rocket and tansy leaves from the farmer's market in a glass vase in the living room.

To drink, we had:
- Oliver Winery wine (Sauvignon Blanc and Soft White)
- Jeanne's home-brewed beer, a very light, tasty wheat beer
- Club soda with lemon wedges

We also had:
- NYT no-knead bread (a little flat--the water wasn't warm enough when I added it to the yeast--but very crisp). Served with goat cheese from the farmer's market, soft white stuff mixed with black vegetable ashes
- Salad: red romaine and green romaine from the farmer's market, with a dressing of lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, dried tarragon, minced shallots, salt, and pepper, topped with toasted walnuts and grated parmesan and romano cheese
- Zucchini carpaccio: three zucchini sliced into thin rounds, laid out in three layers; on top of each layer, I squeezed a little lemon juice and sprinkled olive oil, salt, pepper, parmesan and romano cheese, lemon zest, and toasted pine nuts
- Lentil soup: a soffritto of celery, onion, carrot, and garlic sweated for half an hour on low heat, with a bag of brown lentils and about 8 cups of water added to simmer for hours. I seasoned it with a small can of tomato paste, a few glugs of soy sauce, dried oregano, thyme, and rosemary, and fresh Italian parsley added towards the end. I also threw in a quarter of a package of orzo pasta towards the end of cooking.
- Mushroom pasta: Rahul made this: two packages of whole-wheat rotini, handfuls of farmer's market spinach, and a huge saucepan of creamy mushroom sauce. He made a white sauce with a butter-flour roux and whole milk, cream, and mushroom Better than Bouillon added as the liquid. I don't know what other herbs he added, but he did put in a lot of garlic, garlic chives, diced carrots, and onions.
- Corn pudding: I followed the basic recipe shown here:
with five ears of fresh yellow corn instead of six, the kernels cut off the cob instead of grated, and a few other modifications. In other words,
Cut corn kernels and scrape juice from five ears of fresh corn.
Mix with 1/2 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup cream, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp sugar, freshly ground black pepper, 1/2 stick melted butter, and 3 eggs.
Add chopped fresh garlic chives, Italian parsley, and some ground paprika.
Bake in a buttered muffin tin set in a pan of hot water, at 350 degrees, for about 45 minutes. Spoon onto plates.
- Peanut butter cookies: Jeanne and Steve brought these.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Two yummy things at Community Kitchen today:
1) I made coleslaw! I love it when I get to actually cook things. I didn't have to cut up any vegetables, just emptied gigantic bags full of pre-washed shredded cabbage and carrots into a bowl and made a pitcher of vinaigrette to go on top. Apple cider vinegar, vegetable oil, sugar (enough to make it sludgy, and then some), salt, pepper, mustard powder, dried dill, and tons of poppyseeds. I kept looking for caraway seeds or celery seeds, but couldn't find any.
2) Adam made a peanut curry sauce out of coconut milk, peanut butter, turmeric, curry powder, parsley, and garlic powder, and it was absolutely delicious! He was going to cook cut-up apples and assorted veggies in it (looked like broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, green onions, green beans?--not sure what else) and serve it over rice or something. I am seriously considering dropping by CK at dinnertime for a plate of the curry.

Oh, and the chocolates my mom sent were amazing. My favorite was the raspberry ganache. There's a guy at the Bloomington farmer's market (he was at the winter market, at least, haven't seen him yet at the summer market) who sells truffles covered in raspberry dust. I might have to try some of his.

Friday, April 20, 2007

I had a really lovely birthday. I worked all day (well, so it was lovely aside from that and the agonizing VPN troubleshooting on the phone--"Remote Assistance" wasn't working). Rahul left me a card on my computer that I found when I got up in the morning. Since he scheduled a meeting for the evening, I thought we wouldn't make reservations anyplace since we weren't sure when we'd be able to go.

When he got home, we got dressed and went out to Tallent to see if we could get a table.

Then, when he walked in, he said, "Hi, I have a reservation." So he planned all along to get back in time for our reserved dinnertime, and actually called ahead for reservations! It was a small thing, but it meant a lot.

Here's what we ate:

Indiana Duck Breast
Sweet Potato Roesti, Cauliflower, Golden Raisin Olive Relish

Lemon & Herb Stuffed, Parsley Cous Cous, Sundried Tomato Vin

They also brought us amuse-bouches--a crispy sweet potato chip with smoked salmon, ham, and lemon aioli, and about 10 other things all piled on top in miniscule amounts. After dinner, we were given one thin, chewy chocolate cookie each.

The nicely dressed people across the room were talking loudly about all kinds of unsavory topics. Really loudly:
- "So I was scraping the scar tissue off my groin with a butter knife..."
- "I found out I could pull on the tendons and make the claw [apparently a cut-off pheasant foot] open and close. Then I forgot it in my desk one day and got in trouble when the teacher found it because of the smell..."

And a man dining by himself at another table stood up and I saw to my surprise that he was about four feet tall--he looked normal-sized sitting down, so he must have had really short legs. Between the conversations and the small man in the suit, it started to feel very Lynchian indeed.

We went to Runcible Spoon afterwards. Rahul and I shared a Blind Dave's Mocha (chocolate ice cream, whipped cream, and coffee) and had some champagne. Jeanne and Steve came to join us, and Melinda stopped by with her friend Adam and brought me a rose from the table where she'd been sitting at a law school banquet. There was a private party in the main room to honor Sherman Alexie, and they gave free bottles of wine to the management, so the owner came by and gave us some free glasses of the sparkling red.

Mom and Dad sent me cards, and Mom also UPS'd a box of fancy chocolates that arrived the next morning! I haven't tried the chocolates yet, but they're very beautiful.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I miss my boyfriend. :( Rahul is off in Nashville, TN today and tomorrow for a job interview.

So he missed out on some yummy pasta:

Creamy Lemon Pasta
A couple of handfuls of dried extra-wide egg noodles
A couple of handfuls of frozen peas
About 1/4 bunch of fresh parsley
1/2 of a large lemon (I miss fresh, free California lemons! This one cost $1)
2 large cloves garlic
Olive oil
2 Tbsp mascarpone cheese

Put on the water for the egg noodles.

While waiting for it to boil, mince the garlic. Heat up a dab of olive oil in a tiny pan and brown the garlic. Remove from heat and place in a serving bowl.

Cook the noodles according to directions.

Wash and chop the parsley.

Dump the frozen peas into the pasta water a minute before it's done; by the time you drain it, the peas should be thawed.

Pour the drained pasta and peas into the serving bowl. Throw in the mascarpone and the parsley. Zest and juice the lemon directly into the bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, and stir together to melt the mascarpone into a creamy sauce.

Things that might have made this dish better, if I'd thought of them and had them all on hand:
- Parmesan cheese
- Fresh mint or basil
- More garlic!
- Chopped olives
- Capers

Overall, though, it's a lovely, delicious, simple dish. The mascarpone makes it really easy--the previous incarnations of this pasta dish I've made before (with lemon or with yellow bell peppers) called for using cream and reducing it in the pan, which is much more time-consuming. Since the mascarpone is thick and creamy and clingy already, you can easily make the sauce before the pasta is even done cooking.

So... time to get back to my project and some fashion-ogling. I'm really craving chocolate, or hot cocoa, or a mocha, and we don't have any in the house. Unfortunately, Rahul has the car and it's forecast to snow tomorrow, so I probably won't go out. Saturday I paid no attention and went downtown to get breakfast and to attend Nancy's birthday party and spin at the yarn shop, and by the time I left (with 237 yards of green-blue merino tencel, and 30 yards of angora/silk/cotton 3-ply handspun in hand), huge, horrible globs of wet slush were splattering down everywhere, inch-thick all over the car windows. There was a kind of crust of fluffy/icy slush on the road that was retaining water underneath and I was glad Bloomington is so small.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Vegetarian (not vegan) gravy

Worked up as a substitute for our favorite white bean gravy because of the tragic demise of our hand blender.

Make a light roux with one tablespoon butter and one tablespoon flour. When the roux is thick, but still very pale, add Morningstar Farm sausage crumbles (perhaps 1/2 cup). Mix well with the roux and saute until lightly browned. Add about 1/2 tsp Better than Bouillon vegetarian broth concentrate, and about 1 cup cool water. Stir well; cook until the gravy is the desired consistency, then stir in about a teaspoonful of mascarpone cheese. Cook for a minute longer and then serve with Remarkably Acceptable biscuits.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I made this reasonably good imitation of Gretchen's braised red cabbage, and am enjoying it now with Quorn nuggets and a slice of whole-grain bread:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 2 1/4-pound red cabbage, thinly sliced (about 12 cups)
6 tablespoons brown sugar
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar

Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add cabbage and sauté until slightly wilted, about 5 minutes. Add sugar; toss to coat evenly. Add vinegar. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until cabbage is tender, stirring often, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I've eaten some great things while I've been in California these past few weeks (since 12/16/06). I have been on vacation from vegetarianism.

Aloo tikki and masala dosa from Vik's Chaat House.

At Sarah's solstice party, a great spread of all kinds of familiar, wonderful Solstice party foods: "Swedish meatballs" (they turned out to be Italian meatballs from Costco baked in butter); Gretchen's wonderful traditional red cabbage, cooked till tender (water, white wine vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and butter); roasted new potatoes with dill, Sarah's homemade white chocolate peppermint bark with peppermint candies AND peppermint oil, and dark chocolate with salted chopped pistachios; cold, plump boiled shrimp with cocktail sauce; slices of cucumber; slices of crisp apple with caramelly brown Norwegian Gjetost cheese; tangy pickled herring with paper-thin slices of lacy Havarti on those cardboardy whole-wheat crackers; anise-flavored kerosene, aka shot glasses of aquavit; champagne, Martinelli's, both traditional and mango-flavored; gorgeous brownies with whole tiny candy canes pressed into the top of each one (great idea, but I didn't try it).

At Dad's house: Cauliflower roasted in a pan with just olive oil, salt, and pepper, until brown and nutty. It was so delicious we kept eating it with our fingers until it was almost all gone.

Some other lovely dishes at Dad's house, too many to count: lentil hummus, crunchy Fuyu persimmons, home-made crackers with a delectable Brie, vegetable chowder from the Deborah Madison Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone cookbook, black cherry jello mold with walnuts, cherries, and celery embedded inside for a lovely crunch. A fragrant, buttery pear from Harry and David's. Pan-fried masala dosas from frozen packages from Vik's. Pink, juicy grapefruits sprinkled with sugar. Peet's coffee with half-and-half or vanilla soy milk, waiting for me when I came to the table each morning. Another loaf of no-knead bread from the New York Times, which we had the day after it was baked, so it was chewy rather than crispy.

Three! generous pieces of unagi on rice, miso soup, and salad, for about $10, with Leah and Martin at Mifune in Japantown. Did I mention it costs about twice as much for unagi donburi in Bloomington? I don't know how much they give you, but I seriously doubt it's six whole pieces of fish, and I don't think they include the sides of soup and salad, either. Also some nice salted edamame.

Dad took me out to Lalime's as a Christmas present. We ate:
- Caesar salad: crisp, beautiful baby romaine lettuce, full of sweet flavor, dressed with a complex, creamy anchovy dressing and unfortunately large, sparse, crunchy croutons. The salad would have been perfect with a larger number of smaller croutons.
- Wild mushroom stroganoff--creamy, with wonderful wild mushrooms and perfectly cooked al dente fresh pasta. It came with a tiny kabocha squash gratin on top.
- Rich, luscious mud pie with frozen coffee? hazelnut? ice cream, frozen whipped cream, chopped toasted almonds, and a dark chocolate sauce with little chocolatey wafers on top.

Dad had some kind of Mexican-inspired fish with a roasted green pepper sauce, and a mixed greens salad with roasted golden and red beets and a huge piece of runny, pungent blue cheese, which he kindly shared with me.

Patty got locked out of the house for three hours that night--she was home dog-sitting and left the keys in the house when she took Jeb out for a walk. Unfortunately, their neighbors John and Betsy were out, and Jeb would lunge at people if they came near, so Patty couldn't bring him to some random neighbor's house. She ended up huddling in the laundry room for warmth and going through the trash at the high school to find a paper plate for Jeb to drink water out of. I had already felt pretty guilty about eating the wonderful meal without her, without the thought of her shivering in the cold while rummaging through dumpsters.

We went up to Napa for Christmas Eve and dashed back down Christmas Day for Patty to go to dinner at her sister's house with the aforementioned black cherry Jello mold in tow.

For Christmas dinner, we had some wonderful oldies-but-goodies. Roasted turkey, brined for two days until it was unspeakably luscious and juicy. A bite of the sticky rice (loh mai) stuffing straight from the bird, all crisp and brown and savory at the edges, studded with sweet sausage and mushrooms. Honey-roasted ham, crunchy and brown along the slashed, broiled edges. White wine from New Zealand, red wine. Yams with marshmallows on top. Soft, doughy garlic bread with the crust all crunchy from the oven. Roasted carrots and potatoes and who knows what else. Roasted cauliflower with capers and anchovies (the plain roasted stuff we made at Dad's was better, though). Green beans. Salad. Is it bad of me not to remember the vegetables very well? Roasted whole yams, perhaps left over from the casserole dish. Last but not least, a stunning buche de Noel that Juliana made, with cocoa-dusted meringue mushrooms on top, a dark ganache icing, and yellow sponge cake rolled with a pastry cream/whipped cream mixture, served with a scoop of coffee ice cream. Grandpa got sick that night and said the buche de Noel had done him in.

Latkes with applesauce and sour cream at Saul's, with Mike and Christy.

On the 29th, Will's wedding, and Will and Nikki provided, of course, an amazing feast. They were married in the basement of the CIA in St. Helena. We had stopped by Dean and Deluca on the way over and enjoyed window shopping for beer toffee and nuts in honey. In the basement, when we first walked in, there was a bar serving Nutella hot chocolate with dishes of banana and espresso marshmallows. I had one of each.

We walked between the giant wine casks and the towering stone walls all draped with white, starry lights, and sat down to watch their wedding take place against burgundy velvet curtains. It was a lovely ceremony, and they danced away from the altar to the tune of "I Feel Good."

Next came hors d'oeuvres: rather dry breaded balls of duck confit topped with a candied kumquat, perfect little Chinese soup spoons full of creamy mac'n'cheese topped with bacon bits, and Patty's favorite, crisp crackers seemingly made completely of nori, topped with a slightly spicy tuna tartare and masago. We had these with crisp, fizzy, delicious glasses of cava--my favorite alcoholic beverage of the evening.

Upstairs, I was seated at Table 1 with Michael, Yvette (who has moved to New York), and Valerie, Will's best man Reed and groomsman Geoff, Reed's girlfriend (I forgot her name--something with an M), and Will's cousin Leigh, who sang a Sarah McLachlan song in the ceremony. We had:

Huge, juicy, crunchy pan-seared day boat sea scallops on a bed of roasted cauliflower puree, with roasted cauliflower pieces and a crispy fried caper vinaigrette. Incredibly good.

Handmade fettuccine with roasted butternut squash puree, shavings of Romano cheese (grana padano?), onion soubise (that is, finely minced caramelized onions) and big slices of crunchy fresh black truffles. I was surprised to find that I liked the fresh truffles--their earthiness is better restrained when they're fresh, not cooked or infused into oil. This was such a wonderful dish--my favorite was either this or the scallops.

Beef short ribs with shallots, young haricots verts with peeled orange and gold baby carrots, thinly sliced potatoes layered into a crispy-topped cheesy gratin, and fat, meaty pieces of Maine lobster poached in butter and served with a lobster reduction sauce.

The wedding cake, a hazelnut dacquoise that turned out to be essentially a big heap of hazelnut buttercream with a few little nutty crunchy bits here and there.

A cheddar cheese croissant and a puffy sugar-topped brioche from the bakery in Stanford Shopping Center. While Mom and I were sharing the croissant, we saw a security guard for the mall zip by on a Segway.

Mom's meltingly tender beef short rib stew served over noodles.

Slices of canard a' l'orange with Ken and Sarah at a French restaurant in Los Altos, served with chewy Thai red rice, and probably also some kind of vegetable, broccoli perhaps. I mainly remember the seemingly endless stack of slightly red coin-shaped slices of duck piled on my plate.

At a restaurant in Milpitas, on the left-hand side of the mall as you face Ranch 99: Salt and pepper Dungeness crab, soothing silken steamed tofu with shrimp in it, steamed spinach with chopped bits of pork and black mushroom.

A couple of pieces of salty preserved lemon or plum, from Tsang Po Po--who knows, really, what those fruits are in the end. It's the salt/sour/sweet punch in the mouth you really crave.

Big cubes of fried stuffed tofu from Canton Palace or whatever it's called, on the street across from Marina Foods. It's fried so the skin is chewy, but the inside is still silky, there's a big lump of shrimp meat in the top, and a savory brown sauce coats the whole dish. Also cooked romaine lettuce or nappa cabbage, with a soy or oyster sauce.

Dim sum at Koi Palace in Daly City: ha gao, siu long bao, beignets (sai yong), lo mai fan. I remember the siu long bao filling was coarsely knife-chopped and they weren't very full of broth.

My New Year's Eve dinner: decent, but not exceptional, paneer tikka masala and aloo naan from the curry place on Curtis and Solano. The free chai was really good, though, I have to say. Later, at Robert and Sara's, between bouts of rabbit-pestering in Rayman with Mike and rocking out with Guitar Hero 2 with Willis, I enjoyed some champagne, a cocktail of whiskey and ginger ale, some utterly delicious melty queso (cheddar with cream, tomatoes, jalapenos, onions, and who knows what else) with tortilla chips, a banana (!), and lemon-ginger cream sandwich cookies.

New Year's Day lunch with Lee and Mary and Molly at Daimo: cheung fun with shrimp, cheung fun with you tiu inside, lo bak go, chow fun, crunchy tsin mein, and salt and pepper tofu with fantastically crunchy, salty outsides. I have to say it beats the salt and pepper Dungeness crab we ate in Milpitas a few nights earlier. It's great to just enjoy the crunch without having to pick through shells to extract the tiny bits of meat.

Lo bak go fried with scrambled egg, Vietnamese iced coffee, and a small #1 bowl of noodles at TK Noodle, an old favorite that we abandoned for years after TSS saw someone sneezing into the soup. I think we went back because it's under new management. The broth is so soothing and is full of thin rice noodles, beef balls, slices of beef, bean sprouts, tiny crunchy pork rind pieces, and cilantro.

A bacon waffle with maple syrup from Pancake House in Los Altos with Mom, TSS, Serena, and Tsang Po Po. I tried one of Mom's sausage links--the sausage was really sweet and moist and tasty.

A bowl of pho with tendon and steak from a place on S. Murphy, aka Downtown Sunnyvale. I had forgotten how much I loved all the fixings: squeezing in the tiny wedge of lime, dropping in the sliced green peppers, tearing the Thai basil into the soup, and stirring in handfuls of wet, crunchy bean sprouts, their white echoing the white of the rice noodles.

God, this is a lot of stuff already, but I'll add anything noteworthy I think of later.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


4 cups basmati rice
2 1/2 grated unsweetened frozen coconut

Soak the rice for at least 3-4 hours, then wash in several changes of water, until the water runs clear.

Blend the coconut and rice with water until smooth.

You can cook the batter at this stage as pan polo, a thin crepe.

Cook down the blended mixture to a thick paste.

Form the paste into golf ball-sized patties with a thumb print in the center of each one.

Steam in a steamer for about 20 minutes, until the cakes look slightly translucent.

Press each one through a shevia press onto a plate, as a sort of flat cake of vermicelli.

Mix with coconut oil, shredded coconut, chopped green chilis, asafoetida, and salt.

If you want to make sweet shevia, you can make a mixture of coconut milk, brown sugar, and cardamom and use that instead of the coconut-chili-asafoetida mixture.
Vegetable Manchow Soup

2-3 dried Chinese mushrooms, rehydrated in hot water and chopped
2-3 mushrooms, chopped
1/4 small cabbage, chopped
50g tofu, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped and de-seeded
2 green chilis, chopped
2 bamboo shoot slices, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1/2 inch piece garlic, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
1 cup noodles
2 tbsp oil (plus some to deep fry)
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 Tbsp red chili sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp MSG
salt to taste
4-5 cups vegetable stock
1 Tbsp vinegar

Blanch noodles in hot water, remove, and drain well. Heat sufficient oil and deep-fry blanched noodles for two minutes or until light brown and crisp. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Blend cornstarch in 1/2 cup water and set aside.

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a wok or pan, add ginger, garlic, green chili, and stir-fry briefly. Add green onion and cook for a few minutes.

Add mushrooms, cabbage, bamboo shoots, tofu, capsicum, and carrot and cook on medium heat, stirring continuously for two minutes.

Add chili sauce, soy sauce, pepper powder, MSG, salt, and stir to mix. Stir in vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Stir in blended cornstarch and cook for two minutes or until the soup thickens, stirring continuously.

Stir in vinegar and serve piping hot, garnished with crisply fried noodles and spring onion greens.
Spinach Balls
2 10 oz. packages chopped spinach, washed, squeeze out excess water
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups Brownberry Herb Stuffing
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 tsp oregano
salt to taste

Mix everything together and form into medium-sized balls. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. Serve with ketchup.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I need to try this recipe from the NYT!

Recipe: No-Knead Bread

Published: November 8, 2006

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising
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3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

For lunch today, I made a simple but tasty little dish: some of those prepackaged spinach gorgonzola ravioli with a sauce made of chopped ripe tomatoes and garlic fried in a little dab of butter.

Savory tempeh muffins

I based this recipe on the "Henny Penny" muffins recipe found in the Laura Ingalls Wilder Country Cookbook.

1 package soy tempeh, chopped
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 cups whole wheat flour (minus a little bit)
roughly 3 Tbsp white cornmeal
(pour enough into the measuring cup with flour to make up the difference to 2 cups total)

1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup plain soy milk
1 cup cheddar cheese
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Fry the onion and celery in a little oil over medium heat, then add the tempeh and fry until golden brown. Pour on the balsamic vinegar and soy sauce and mix in the hot pan, then remove from heat and allow to cool.

Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and thyme in one bowl. Stir in the tempeh mixture.

Combine the eggs, soy milk, and cheese in another bowl.

Pour the liquids into the flour and stir lightly, just to moisten. Grease two muffin tins with olive oil (this will make about 1 1/2 muffin tins' worth). Fill each muffin cup and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown and a fork inserted into the center comes out clean.

These are delicious with honey and/or butter.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I cooked a lot this weekend, in addition to going to the farmer's market and talking to Jenny and Rebecca (the sheep farmer and her daughter from my spinning class) about their peacocks, carving some awesome pumpkins with Steve and Jeanne, buying a nice new yarn storage unit at the new Wal-Mart Supercenter, and spinning for hours and hours--I thought I just wasn't skilled enough to spin the fine, silky merino I had bought, and then Robin drastically loosened the Scotch tension on the wheel to reduce the takeup and I was suddenly able to spin laceweight merino! Suzanne was nice enough to let me borrow the wheel indefinitely. Sue from my class said she's going to Sheep Street next weekend for another class and to try out wheels, and will email me with the details.

- Made a Middle Eastern-ish eggplant dip:
Wash, trim, and roast 3 small eggplants at about 400 degrees until soft and dark(I used the white kind with purple streaks). Let cool and peel off the skin.

Fry some chopped ripe tomatoes and garlic, then puree the eggplant flesh with these vegetables, salt, pepper, cumin, and a little bit of balsamic vinegar and soy sauce.

- Roasted a butternut squash: 1h at 400 degrees, cut in half, face-down in water
- Roasted a bunch of green tomatoes from the farmer's market with salt, pepper, EVOO, garlic, and oregano
- Made chuda and the dressing for bhel puri for a potluck that never happened. The chuda needs to have the recipe Rahul's mom gave us quadrupled before it tastes right.
- Made some hard-boiled eggs
- Rahul made manicotti stuffed with ricotta, egg, and fresh basil, topped with tomato sauce
- Made scrambled eggs and home-fried new potatoes for breakfast
- Made a panna cotta that just didn't come out right. I boiled 2 cups slightly hard cider with 1 1/2 Tbsp agar-agar (this made a very firm gel) and let it set. I wanted to add a layer of yogurt, but was afraid it would curdle if I heated it, so I heated a small amount of yogurt with water and 2 Tbsp agar-agar, then stirred it into the other 3 cups yogurt and seasoned it with honey and vanilla. The main part of the yogurt was too cold and set the agar instantly, so now I have a slightly set yogurt with lots of tiny granules of hard gelatin in it... gross.
- Made a Southern breakfast: white corn grits with cheddar cheese melted into them, served with absolutely delicious fried green tomatoes that I made by slicing green tomatoes and then shaking them up in some Andy's Spicy Fish Fry and frying them in olive oil
- Cooked a fake chicken stew with wild Chicken of the Woods (sulfur shelf) mushrooms from the farmer's market--these are very chickeny indeed, but very much like dry, massively overcooked chicken unless you cook them in sauce. We braised them first around lunchtime (saute in oil or butter, then add water and braise for 20 minutes) but they came out dry and disappointing, and so for dinner I made a stew out of them. I chopped up an onion, a few carrots, and a few stalks of celery and sauteed them, then braised for a while (we had a few scraps of mushroom left over that we had forgotten to cook earlier) and cooked some whole-wheat penne in the meantime in a separate pot. When the pasta was done, I drained it, then returned it to the same pot with a can of Amy's Organic Cream of Mushroom Soup and some extra water. I added the vegetables from the other pan, seasoned it with thyme, salt, pepper, and soy sauce, and we enjoyed it with some wheat toast and hummus (Rahul) and eggplant spread (me).

These mushrooms are apparently quite risky--Wikipedia says half of the population is allergic to them! We had to sign a waiver at the farmer's market saying we wouldn't sue if the forager turned out to have gathered the wrong thing and poisoned us. He reassured us that there's a mushroom inspector who comes around the market every morning and checks them, and they're only allowed to sell six common types of wild mushrooms: morels, chanterelles, chicken of the woods, hen of the woods, and I forget the last two--one might have been puffballs. Then he handed us a paper telling us that if we didn't braise the mushrooms for at least 20 minutes, we would probably end up with nausea, vomiting, or other nasty side effects.

Monday, September 25, 2006


1. Mix the following in a large bowl:

2cups of Special K cereal

2cups of Rice Krispies

2 cups of Toasted corn (Corn Chex, I think)

1 cup of shredded wheat (optional)

2. Prepare seasoning separately:

2 tbspn of Canola or Veg oil

1 tsp of mustard seeds

1/2 tsp of turmeric

1/2 tsp of Asafoetida

1 or 1 and 1/2 tsp of chilli poweder

10 curry leaves

3. The process:

Heat oil; add mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to splatter, reduce heat and add turmeric, Asafoetida, chilli powder and curry leaves. Immediately pour the whole thing on the cereal mix. Add 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of sugar to the whole thing and mix thoroughly. Put the whole thing in oven at 200 degree for 10 minutes. Then add roasted peanuts. Mix again. Eat to you heart's content. Enjoy.
Beans and cornbread


1 cup Anasazi beans, picked through and rinsed--not presoaked
1 can chopped tomatoes with Italian seasoning
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced and browned
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp olive oil
2 cups boiling water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 Thai bird peppers, chopped

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Combine all ingredients in an ovenproof pan, cover, and put into oven for 5+ hours.

I haven't finished baking this yet because we had to leave for the Calexico concert before I was done, so the beans are still somewhat hard. :(


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place an 8-inch seasoned cast iron skillet inside with 1 Tbsp coconut oil to preheat for about 5 minutes.

In the meantime, combine the dry ingredients in one bowl and mix together:
1 cup white stone-ground cornmeal
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
(will have to double-check proportions for preceding 3 ingredients)

Whisk together the wet ingredients in another bowl:
3/4 cup soy milk
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar (these two ingredients substitute for buttermilk)
1 large egg

Mix the dry and wet ingredients together lightly, just to moisten. Remove the preheated pan from the oven and swirl the melted fat up around the sides to coat them. Pour in the batter and return the pan to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, until the cornbread is golden brown. "Invert the pan with a confident flip," as John Thorne, whose basic recipe I'm using, puts it. Cut into little wedges and eat the crispy-crusted cornbread hot, with butter, or some melted Cheddar cheese.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Biscuits and Tempeh Sausage Gravy

The recipe consists of three parts: the sausage crumbles, the gravy, and the biscuits.

the recipe is posted here:

prep time: 2 minutes | cooking time: 25-30 minutes | makes about 2 cups

8 oz package tempeh
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried margoram or oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon

In a saute pan, crumble the tempeh and add enough water to almost cover it. Over high heat, steam the tempeh until most of the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Drain the remaining water and add the rest of the ingredients and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

2 cups cooked white beans, or 1 15-oz can drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup veg broth or water
1/2 tsp salt
Black pepper
10-12 leaves fresh sage, chopped

Prepare the Tempeh sausage crumbles and keep them warm in a pan.
Puree the white beans with the oil and broth until relatively smooth. (I have a hand blender so I just do it right in a cooking pot, but you can do this in a blender or food processor instead). Add this to the tempeh crumbles with the salt and pepper. Heat through. You can thin the gravy by adding more vegetable broth. Mix in the sage and cook for another 2 minutes.

I use the Joy of Cooking olive oil drop biscuit recipe, which is deemed "surprisingly acceptable" in the cookbook. I think it turns out pretty well because you don't need to stir as much as if you make the biscuits by hand the traditional way, (cutting in the butter in pieces) so the biscuits stay more tender.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Mole for Partners Club Mexican Dinner Night (9/10/06)

All amounts listed are approximate... some more than others
2 cups pumpkin seeds, toasted and salted
1 cup toasted almonds
10 medium-large tomatoes (mixture of plum and pink heirloom)
3 fresh ancho chilis
1 fresh "Native American" chili
1 fresh Hungarian hot pepper
3 fresh tiny Thai bird chilis
1/2 cup raisins to grind in the sauce, plus 1/4 cup to leave whole
1 Tbsp cocoa nibs, or substitute 2 squares of unsweetened dark chocolate

Stew seasonings:
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
6 large cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped coarsely
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried ground cumin
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 lime
2 cups water

2 frozen Quorn Naked Cutlets, cut into cubes
1 pint tiny summer squash, cut into diagonal slices--I used a very pleasing-to-the-eye type shaped like tiny zucchini and shaded butter-yellow on one end, where the green stem was attached, and pale leaf-green on the other
1/2 pint green beans, trimmed and snapped into pieces
2 medium waxy potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 carrots, peeled and sliced

Fry the onions in some olive oil over medium-low heat. After a few minutes, add the garlic. Once the onion is soft and the garlic is slightly browned, add some water.

Wash and place the unpeeled tomatoes and chilis on a silicone baking sheet in a baking dish under the broiler until charred.

Peel the charred skin off the chilis, remove their seeds, and place the chili flesh into a food processor.

Add the tomatoes to the pot with the onion mixture and let everything simmer while you prepare the rest of the sauce.

Add the pumpkin seeds, almonds, 1/2 cup of the raisins, and cocoa nibs to the food processor and grind everything to a powder. Add this mixture to the pot, then add the oregano, cumin, soy sauce, salt, and whole raisins, and stir and mash all the ingredients together. It should look pale and creamy.

Add the stew ingredients, allowing for the disparity in cooking times between each type of ingredient: potatoes and carrots first, then squash, then green beans and Quorn.

Simmer until the stew is cooked through. Add the lime juice and pepper, taste and correct the seasoning. I ended up stirring in a few extra spoonfuls of tomato sauce at the end because there was too much nut mixture, making the sauce too bland.

Serve with rice.

Notes on the recipe: next time, I would add many more tomatoes and ancho peppers in relationship to the nut mixture, in order to give the sauce more depth, spice, and tanginess, and more chocolate to strengthen the bitterness. As it was, I think it ended up more bland than I would have liked--it tasted perfect after I had added only about half the nut mixture, but I ended up adding the rest because I had to use it up. The lime was a substitute for the citrus sourness of tomatillos, which I couldn't find, but I think this would be phenomenal with tomatillos, green tomatoes, or maybe even ground cherries instead of the lime juice. A bigger variety of nuts would also make this sauce very interesting. Some of the Diana Kennedy recipes I was studying and adapting used hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, and sesame seeds in addition to almonds and pumpkin seeds. Also, the green beans were a substitute for nopales. Real nopales would probably be better.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Portobello-Spinach-Leek-Goat Cheese thingies: link from Daren

Also, I made shortbread (recipe from Joy of Cooking, minus sugar; divided in half, I added walnuts, rosemary, and parmesan to half the recipe, and crushed cardamom seeds, vanilla, and sugar to the other half) and larb the other day. The larb was Gimme Lean Ground Beef Style fried with ginger slices (later removed), chopped garlic, chopped green chili, and chopped lemongrass. I seasoned it with lime juice, lime zest, soy sauce, sesame oil, black pepper, toasted rice powder, and brown sugar, plus chopped raw mint, cilantro, Thai basil, celery, and red onion. Pretty good wrapped up into bundles with red leaf lettuce... the only thing I'd change is adding more lime juice.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Mushroom Tofu Stroganoff
from Horn of the Moon Cookbook

I asked for this recipe from my coworker Greg, who brought it to one of our potlucks. It's delicious! He says he uses fresh dill and substitutes peas and zucchini for the tofu. (I think also carrots)

4 Tbsp butter
3 onions, finely chopped (1.5 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried dill weed
2 tsp basil
3 squares tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into 1-inch cubes (1.5 lbs)
2 Tbsp tamari
4 tightly packed cups sliced mushrooms (about 1/4 inch slices)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 qts water
1 lb curly noodles
1 cup sour cream + dollop for garnish
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp poppy seeds

Melt 2 Tbsp butter in wok or large, deep cast-iron frying pan and saute the onions, garlic, dill weed, and basil. After 5 minutes, add tofu and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring gently occasionally, until tofu browns nicely. Add tamari and stir. Then add mushrooms, salt,a nd cayenne. Lower heat, stir, and cook another 5 mins. Remove from heat.

Bring water to a boil in a 4-quart pot. Cook noodles until tender; drain adn return to pot. Toss noodles with 1 Tbsp butter to prevent sticking.

Add 1 cup sour cream and parsley to mushroom mixture and mix well.

Melt remaining 2 Tbsp butter in saucepan and add poppyseeds. Cook5-10 minutes. Pour onto noodles and toss. Serve noodles with stroganoff on top and dollop of sour cream as garnish.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


400 g 00 flour (3 1/5 cup)
50 g butter (3.5 Tbsp)
50 g sugar (1/4 cup)
15 g yeast (3 tsp)
1 egg white
1 1/2 cup milk

Put the yeast in a little bit of the warmed-up milk. Mix about half a cup (50 g) flour into a paste with the milk mixture. Make a ball, cut a cross into the top, cover, and let rise for about half an hour in a warm place. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Mix the rest of this flour, sugar, butter at room temperature, salt, and the egg whites. Knead, adding a bit of tepid milk (enough to make a bread-like dough), divide in 8 parts and make small cylinders about 4 cm long.

Grease a baking sheet. Place the loaves far apart on the sheet and let them rise about 1 1/2 hrs. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden but not crunchy. Let cool and wait a couple of days. Then slice them and toast the thin slices.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I had some good meals about a week or two ago: Cafe Gratitude with Rahul, Chez Florio with Ailis... I'll have to write about them later.

I wanted to stop in and make notes of things from my travels to remember:
"Cucina Da Mario"
di Masiero Anna Lisa
San Marco 2614--Venezia
Tel. 0415285968
The little canalside restaurant Francesco brought me and my mom to, where the woman spoke no English and berated some meek English tourists for requesting something off the menu that she had apparently run out of. "...Everything here is fresh! You think I sell things from cans here? No! Nothing comes out of cans! So that means you can't have everything exactly as you like it all the time!"

"Innocenti" ceramista a Montefiesole
is the man who made the beautiful majolica boxes with birds I bought for myself and my mom in Cinque Terre.

Vieng Travel ( is the place that books the accomodations in the Tree Top Lodges in Khao Sok.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Recipes from Rahul's mom

Masala Dosa
1 cup urad dal
2 cups rice
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds

Soak the until soft, then blend together with water until smooth. Let the batter ferment in a warm place overnight before frying.

Bhaji (potato filling for dosa)
Around 5 small potatoes
Black mustard seeds
A pinch of cumin
A pinch of turmeric
A couple of curry leaves
1-2 onions, cut into half-moons
1-2 green chilies, sliced
A piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
Lemon juice
Cilantro (optional)

Boil and peel the potatoes, then dice into small cubes.

Heat oil in a pan over high heat. Add the mustard seeds. When they begin popping, add the cumin, turmeric, and curry leaves. Fry for a minute. Add the onions, chilies, and ginger, and fry the mixture for a few minutes. Add some water and salt to the potatoes. Cook over low/medium heat. After the mixture is cooked, season with lemon juice and cilantro.

Fried Cauliflower
Whole coriander seeds
Rice flour
Chickpea flour
Chili powder

Make a batter from the coriander, flours, salt, and chili powder mixed with water until just liquid. Batter the cauliflower and deep-fry it. Serve with sweet Thai chili sauce.

Doodh Peda (condensed milk candies)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered milk
1/4 cup sugar
Ground cardamom

Cook all ingredients together over medium heat until caramelized. Let cool slightly, then roll into balls and let cool. These candies should be soft.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Dinner, Monday, May 22
Quorn, sourdough stuffing (fried carrot, celery, and onion, cubed dense sourdough moistened with vegetable broth and an egg, seasoned with rosemary, sage, and parsley, and baked until crusty), mashed red potatoes with chives, and some kind of weird gravy from a packet

Breakfast, Tuesday, May 23
A fried egg and whole-wheat sourdough bread

Lunch, Tuesday, May 23
Black beans, sourdough stuffing, steamed broccoli, and an orange

Dinner, Tuesday, May 23
There was a power outage throughout the East Bay, so we had to go to a nearby Indian restaurant, where we sat at chairs outside in the twilight and ate lukewarm potato patty wrap sandwiches, while candles and oil lamps flickered inside the dark restaurant, looking, Rahul said, just like stores in India in the evenings.

Breakfast, Wednesday, May 24
Yogurt with honey and almonds

Lunch, Wednesday, May 24
Black beans, sourdough stuffing, and steamed broccoli

Dinner, Wednesday, May 24
My mom took me out to Bendean and I had bread and butter, a roasted beet, grapefruit, and arugula salad, and a bowl of tomato-dill soup with croutons. Given the nature of the restaurant, there's actually a good chance that many of the ingredients were local, but I don't know for sure.

Breakfast, Thursday, May 25
Yogurt with honey and almonds

Lunch, Thursday, May 25
I didn't plan very well, so:
A slice of home-baked sourdough whole-wheat bread, with native sourdough yeasts but non-local flour.
Tomato basil soup
A salad of romaine lettuce with croutons, sesame dressing, and a hard-boiled egg
A gingersnap

Monday, May 22, 2006

Lunch, Monday, May 22
Steamed artichoke with garlic butter
Black beans with orange juice
Sourdough crepe
Dinner, Friday, May 19
Vegetable chow mein, vegetarian spring rolls, and raw broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, melon, and pineapple from the buffet at the Tonga Room, where we had happy hour cocktails with my coworkers.

Brunch, Saturday, May 20
I made sourdough crepes: starter mixed with flour and enough water to make a runny batter, fried paper-thin on a hot cast-iron griddle.
Rahul made some oven-fried potatoes with rosemary from the garden.
I spent an hour kneading dough--the gluten just wouldn't develop!--and then Rahul remembered that the farmer's market salesperson had said that this flour was not suitable for making bread, which made me feel better about my bricky sourdough failure from last week.

Dinner, Saturday, May 20
We had a student-nostalgic, decidedly non-local dinner up near campus:
Vegetarian pad thai
from Thai Basil (in the Durant food court)
Vanilla and cheesecake frozen yogurt from Yogurt Park

Breakfast, Sunday, May 21

Leftover sourdough crepes spread with Smart Balance margarine.

Lunch, Sunday, May 21
Caesar salad and an artichoke heart and olive pizza from Pizza Orgasmica.

Dinner, Sunday, May 21
After Bay to Breakers, I collapsed in bed and slept for about six hours, skipping dinner. Got up around 10 PM and went back to sleep around midnight, for a total night's sleep of about 14 hrs.

Breakfast, Monday, May 22
Yogurt with honey and almonds

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Lunch, May 16; Dinner, May 16
Maui onion potato chips and a pear and camembert sandwich on walnut bread from Bay Bread. Leftover tomato sauce spaghetti. Black beans.

I started making a loaf of whole-wheat sourdough bread with my Full Belly Farms whole-wheat flour and the sourdough starter I've been cultivating on top of the oven. I dissolved 3/4 cup of starter in 1 1/4 cups warm water with 1 Tbsp honey and 1 Tbsp olive oil, then poured it into a well of 2 cups flour and slowly added about a cup more flour as I stirred the dough together.

The results so far seem rather lacking. I think the dough was too wet, and the starter is not strong enough yet--the dough, while fairly smooth once I had kneaded it for about 800 strokes, was still a sort of soft saggy mass rather than a smooth, firm ball. I left it in the slightly warm oven (the beans had been baking in the other half of the oven, so some of the heat came through the oven wall) to rise. After two hours, it looked pretty much the same. The next morning, it was slightly bigger, but passed the poke test specified in Laurel's Whole Wheat Bread Book: moisten your finger with water, poke it into the dough 1/2 an inch, and see if the dough springs back or sags inwards. Since it did neither, I decided the bread was ready to be deflated. I pressed it down gently and put it back into the slightly warm oven to rise all day. Hopefully, when I get home today, it 1) will have risen nicely, and 2) will not have overflowed all over the oven floor.

Breakfast, May 17
Yogurt with honey and almonds.

Lunch, May 17
Roasted sweet potato (roasted in the toaster oven) with black beans and yogurt.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Dinner, Friday, May 12
Leftover vegetable soup with beans and corn
Corn on the cob
Broccolini with soy sauce, sesame oil, and red chili flakes
Oven-fried potatoes with Cajun fish fry coating

May 13 and 14: I spent most of the weekend with my sister and my parents for Mother's Day and Serena's dance performance, so aside from my usual breakfast, none of my weekend meals were local. They were good, though, including an eggplant tart, croissants, goat cheese and tomato sandwich from Bay Bread for a Mother's Day picnic in Golden Gate Park; mixed vegetable spaghetti with the Proustian ketchup-like orange tomato paste sauce common to all Hong Kong-style spaghetti dishes; and my mother's apple custard pie.

Breakfast, May 15: Yogurt with almonds and honey

Lunch, May 15: Salad with lemon juice and olive oil dressing, hard-boiled egg, and apple; carrot cake.

Dinner, May 15:
Rice noodles with soy sauce, green beans, onions, and red and orange bell peppers. I made a pot of black beans with garlic, salt, and vegetable broth, but I haven't tried them yet.

Breakfast, May 16: Yogurt with almonds and honey; coffee with soymilk

Friday, May 12, 2006

Dinner, May 11
Rahul and I went to the Ferry Building after work, where I bought some incredibly expensive ($5/lb) heirloom black beans. We caught the ferry to Jack London Square and watched the sun hang low and bright over and through the skyscrapers and the great iron span of the Bay Bridge towering over us. The ferries are so cool--I can't believe I had never taken one up to this point. There's a full bar on the first level; the first two levels have these big wraparound windows and long, curving banks of vinyl-seated booths and chairs, so they have a kind of 60's spy/lounge vibe. The top level is out in the open, with wooden seats, and dark smoke streaming past you from the smokestacks on either side of the boat. We stayed on the top deck, in the wind, and watched the view the whole time, wishing it took longer than 20 minutes to get across the Bay.

Rahul was meeting his aunt and uncle for dinner, so I walked to the 12th Street BART station and went home, where I simmered the last of the leftover beans and the kernels from one ear of white corn in a pot of vegetable broth. I fried some leftover textured soy protein (Nutrela) with eggs to accompany my soup. (Rahul made an entire box! of Nutrela recently and the huge tupperware is still in the fridge.)

Breakfast, May 12
Yogurt with almonds, raisins, and honey.

Lunch and Snacks, May 12
I roasted a potato in the toaster oven (350 degrees for about 2-3 hours) and ate it with salt, pepper, and yogurt. I also took a trip out to Japantown at lunchtime with Martin, Caitlin, and Andrew, where I bought a pint of soy milk which I assume is not local--it's made by the Sacramento Tofu Company, but I doubt the soybeans and honey are from around here. Caitlin bought a little tray of soy sauce-glazed rice balls on skewers and I ate one--it was nice and chewy, though sticky. I have avoided the Pocky on the table.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Dinner, May 10: We had drinks with my coworkers last night and majorly fell off the wagon, diet-wise--I had mango mojitos, tempura-fried zucchini and mushrooms with soy dipping sauce, the celery from the buffalo wings, and deep-fried mozzarella cheese sticks with marinara sauce. I came home and stirred my sourdough starter and felt a little better. Soon I can enjoy some nourishing whole-wheat locally-grown sourdough bread with yeast from the most famous sourdough country in the world. Also, on the bright side, when I weighed myself this morning, I found that I had lost almost 5 pounds in the last two weeks without particularly depriving myself.

Breakfast, May 11: Yogurt with honey and toasted almonds.

For dinner, depending on how ambitious I feel, I may make some potato gnocchi with a romesco-style sauce using a leftover red pepper Rahul has in the fridge. Or maybe I'll boil my artichokes, or roast the last sweet potato and make some caramelized green tomato relish to go with it. Of course, if I have leftover rice, I'll probably just end up just eating rice and beans again.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Dinner, May 9:
Vegetable soup

Breakfast, May 10:
Scrambled egg
Yogurt with almonds and honey
Coffee with soymilk

Lunch and afternoon snacks, May 10:
Lemon rice
Hard-boiled egg
Carrot cake with honey-mascarpone frosting

I started a jar of sourdough starter last night--I used regular Midwestern flour to make the starter, because I've never done it before, but I'll use the locally grown Full Belly Farms flour ($2 for 1.5 lbs) for the actual loaf of bread in a week or so. In preparation, I found this recipe for 100% whole-wheat sourdough bread:
and ordered some food books from Amazon.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

May 9 snacks and lunch:
Coffee with soy milk
Carrot sticks
Lemon rice
Dinner, May 8.
Salad (from the young salad greens with edible flowers) with blood orange olive oil and white balsamic Stonehouse vinegar dressing, salt, pepper, and croutons.

Vegetable soup: I sauteed diced carrots, yellow onion, celery, garlic, and chopped sage and rosemary in olive oil. I then poured in a few cups of broth and simmered peeled, diced potatoes and cooked beans in the broth until tender. When the soup was almost done, I dumped in sliced button mushrooms and chopped spinach, and seasoned with some sea salt.

Rahul had bought some soft tofu from Ranch 99, and he fried it into a scramble with some eggs, mirin, soy sauce, and sugar. I had some of this as well.

A couple of glasses of Sauvignon Blanc from Napa (I forget which winery--at $4 a bottle, does it matter?)

Breakfast, May 9.
Straus Family Creamery whole-milk yogurt with honey and almonds.

I found this interesting link to a Mother Jones story on According to this story, California imports and exports almost identical amounts of cherries, lettuce, and almonds to and from other countries during the height of growing season. The article lists other illogical import/export products as well--crops we import from other countries while exporting our locally produced versions.

Monday, May 08, 2006

My changing footprint

I thought it would be interesting to chart my ecological footprint over the last few years, picking a few typical cases from my life. I'll mark 25 hours of air miles for each of these years, since I've gone to Asia or Europe on vacation almost every year.

2001, my senior year of college. Eating meat. Living with two people in a small apartment. Driving very little, usually with someone else--in general, walking almost everywhere. Generating plenty of trash and using lots of electricity. Not paying much attention to where my food came from.

FOOD 5.4




2002, working in Redwood Shores. Still eating meat and processed foods, generating lots of trash and using lots of electricity, living with one person in a small apartment. Driving approximately 370-400 miles a week (it's roughly a 37-mile commute from Berkeley to Redwood City, according to Google Maps) but carpooling every day.

FOOD 5.4




2003, working in Marin. Now living in a medium-sized house with two other people. Commuting by myself, by car, about 15 miles a day/150 miles a week. Making a conscious effort to reduce energy and trash consumption, but still eating meat.

FOOD 4.7




2003, same circumstances, but vegetarian, with a larger percentage of unprocessed foods.





2005, working in San Francisco. Taking public transit about 200 miles a week (it's about 20 miles from Albany to Pacific Heights, and I commute both ways every day.) I walk and bike almost everywhere, but do drive some of the time to run errands on the weekends, visit my parents, and so on; however, I drive with someone else almost all the time.





2006, working in San Francisco, circumstances much the same as in my last snapshot, but living with just one person and now making an effort to eat locally grown, unprocessed foods.

FOOD 2.2