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