I tried to resi…

I tried to resist buying an $8 bag of cherries. I could not resist. I am glad I didn’t.

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by | June 15, 2012 · 8:08 pm

must stay awake.

I’m off to go poach eggs for the first time ever! And to fry these other things that are to resemble donuts. What a glorious breakfast this shall be.

I’m more keen to devour words lately, though. Thanks to Katt & Jen & random facebook groups about literature,  I’m up all night, reading & loving it.  Feeling creative vicariously.

Last week I experimented with just not going to bed on Saturday night. You see, I’m off Sun & Mon and everyone else around here gets up at 4am. Plus, it is ridiculously hot outside.  So by switching my schedule temporarily, I have the opportunity to make breakfast & go on a long walk with Shannon. The only sad thing is the coffee shop does not open until 10am. Seriously. That isn’t right. We have to walk by it and look at it longingly.  We’ll probably hit up Starbucks on the way to San Antonio because I didn’t cold brew any coffee this week. Or I did. But it was decaf. Once I realized that, I just drank it all up. No need to limit myself, you know?

But yeah. I live near a wonderful coffee shop and library. I need to get the timing down.

I want to read McCarthy now. I can think of nothing more lyrical than a Cormac McCarthy novel or a lengthy Brady email.

Oh no. I’m getting tired already. This didn’t happen last week. Ahh.

I’m not sure if I’m doing the whole costume thing for Halloween this year or not. I have no ideas. Before, I would always have ideas. Hmm.

Also, I want to stop being a hermit. It just kind of happened (not having a car and all) and it is a hard habit to break. Even when I want to.

Okay. Time to poach some eggs. For real.

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Look what someone left outside my front door!

I kind of ordered it, so that helped.

I don’t have a car anymore & I always have to work on days when the farmer’s market is in town. So, I decided to try delivery from the Greenling service.  It’s kind of expensive because there’s a minimum order…However, compared to some of the other services in the area, Greenling is a good way to go.  I don’t HAVE to order a certain number of times a month or anything and can just do it when I want.  And I kind of love getting packages in the mail….So getting good food left at my door is hard to resist. Plus, free recipe magazine things came with it & an Austin Chronicle. Yay.

For my first order, I chose some purple hull peas, radishes, eggs, and of course figs. The best thing ever though, is the milk.  Full fat, pasteurized, non-homogenized milk.  That means there was cream on top.   Bryan and both had a cup together & we were aghast.  “This is what milk is supposed to taste like!?” we exclaimed.  It was so creamy & sweet & something I could get used to, especially in my coffee. Aside from the awesome flavor & frothiness, I learned that milk retains way more vitamins when it isn’t skim & ultra pasteurized.  I read that taking the fat out actually gets rid of most of the vitamins and they have to add them back in.  Hmm.   Anyway, this stuff was delicious. I haven’t had full fat milk since I was probably 5 years old. I can understand why people buy skim & 2%, with all the calories. However, I think if I’m eating a lot of healthy greens & not many processed foods, I can allow myself some good milk like this.  It’s kind of filling anyway, so I’m not really drinking a lot at once.  And speaking of coffee and milk, my coffee maker has been on the fritz so I cold brewed coffee today.  I am all set to be caffeinated for a while!  I used the Pioneer Woman’s instructions and I think next time I’ll maybe use half the amount of coffee & water. I don’t really have room in my fridge for 2 gallons of coffee but I’m not complaining.

Anywhow. Here are some of the other nice things that came in the box (and yes that is my blurry camera strap you see on the bottom right.  I’m kind of a spaz sometimes)

And here’s what I made today.  Wasn’t I just talking about eating so healthy?  And then I make bread stuffed with cheese?

In my defense, there are spinach & apples in it also.

I could find the Samso cheese the recipe calls for, so I used some Emmentaler and Jarlsberg.  The combination of the yeast bread, the cooked apples & the bitter cheese made it kind of fermented tasting, in a good way.

 

This is probably the most complicated bread I’ve baked so far & it was pretty easy.  I want to get one of those fancy Pullman loaf pans & make some sandwich bread one of these days.  Maybe I had better go back to drinking 2% milk until I’m over this baking obsession 🙂 So many carbs this week! Yum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bread is the best thing.

If I’m ever feeling in need being cheered up, I know what to do.  I’ll  make Sally Lunn bread or any kind of homemade bread, preferably the kind with yeast.  I don’t know why I used to think making bread would be difficult or take too much patience. Maybe my patience has increased over the years?  But seriously, so what if it takes an hour or two to rise? That’s the easy part when you get to catch up on dishes.  Today I managed to mix the ingredients together & then watch Buffy for 45 min, play some Phantasy Star IV and shower.  So much laziness & still I managed to produce a loaf of amazing smelling bread. That’s got to count for something, right?

So…a little bit of mixing ingredients +  a little patience (a.k.a time to go be lazy or maybe even do chores)  = an amazing smelling house, a loaf of light buttery goodness & a feeling of accomplishment.

I’m for it!

I’m all into domestic stuff lately. I dunno why.  I guess part of it is that I so admire the older generation.  They worked harder & had very tangible, practical skills.  I probably romanticize  the hard work a bit too much.  But..at the same time, I think the world would be a better place if we all had more practical skills and didn’t depend on technology or other people (usually poorer people) to do stuff for us.  If something in my house breaks, it’d be awesome if I could fix it.  As it stands now, I don’t even know how to hang things on the wall with anchor screws.  But…progress is being made.   I get immense satisfaction from mending holes in pants’ pockets, making my own laundry detergent and best of all, baking bread.  I think the next thing I want to learn is to be more creative with making a meal from ingredients I have available. I kind of have a bad habit of seeing a recipe online with weird ingredients and thinking, I have to go find that weird out of season, expensive ingredient NOW!”  The truth is, I need to simplify.  I can buy weird in-season stuff instead.  Just this past month or so, I discovered that I love radishes.  I would have never thought to try radishes before. A peppery tasting vegetable? Why would someone eat such a thing? But then I read about the tastiness of  french bread with unsalted butter, sliced radishes and a bit of crunchy salt.  My life has been transformed!  🙂

So..lots of good food & successes this week.

For example, my granny used to make these amazing, yet humble pear preserve cookies & kept the cookie jar stocked with them all the time.  They were chewy & just a little bit cakey and not too sweet.  When I was a kid, I would get all frustrated that she didn’t make chocolate chip cookies instead.  Now that I’m older, I would give almost anything to be able to make those cookies ..and to eat them.  I’ve tried countless times, using her recipe. I’ve tried using other people’s recipes. The results are dismal.  The cookies always turn out super cakey & soft and don’t even taste that good. My Granny made her own pear preserves though…so that’s probably why I can’t replicate her recipe.  All the pear preserves I buy are pretty soupy – hers were thick and tasted like candy 🙂

This weekend, however, I really got in the mood to try fresh figs. I couldn’t find any at the store at first but on a later trip I did find some.  I brought them home, all excited, only to find they weren’t that fresh & were quite mushy. Darnit.  So I made fig cookies.  Obviously, these cookies don’t have pears in them but they taste so  similar to my granny’s cookies. Maybe it has to do with the hint of clove and the brown sugar.  These aren’t chewy yet…maybe they will be if I leave them out a little while? But they are kind of soft & cakey (but not too cakey) and are quite good with some hot tea in the morning.  Putting them in the freezer made them a little firmer. Plus, I  kind of want to eat everything cold since it has been 110 degrees just about every day this week.

What recipes do you wish you could re-create?

Fresh Fig Cookies 
(adapted slightly from Pat Kersteter's recipe)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup chopped fresh figs

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Cream sugar and butter and add beaten egg.
Sift dry ingredients and blend with creamed mixture. 
Fold in figs.
Drop by spoonfuls on greased sheet. 
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (closer to 15 really).

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Chlorophyll the one that you love

My pun was inspired by this rather creepy song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMGEfs4kiyY

Creepy but I like it.

A few years back I really wanted a juicer and got one for Christmas. I tried making some mango juice & was so discouraged at the minuscule amount of juice that was produced.  I also tried some apple & carrot juice & was impressed with the flavor but saddened that I would have to buy so much produce to continue to get my fix.

Recently, I watched “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” & was inspired to try again. Bryan & I were  thinking of having juice  for breakfast a couple of times a week.  At first, the “mean green” juice was kind of icky honestly. After, after a few sips, not so bad.  Very potent. The weird thing is…it reminded me of how bananas taste. Perhaps I’m tasting all the potassium…I don’t really like bananas much though.  We decided to add some organic apple juice to it & that improved things a lot. Plus, I add a little more ginger than the recipe calls for. Bryan doesn’t care for ginger but shh…I don’t think he notices 🙂

So we now love the green juice.  A close second for me is one with blackberries, pineapple, pears, kiwi, mint leaves & young coconut juice. Yum!

What are your favorite juicing recipes?  Please share them!

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You say “tomato,” I say “Solanum lycopersicum”…

Not really.  But try saying that 3 times. It’s actually kind of fun.

It all started here.   My parents have been gardening for years.  I enjoyed helping pick vegetables or black berries when I was a little kid. My favorite job was snapping the string beans. I remember one time I was being a pain & my mom told me to go argue with the fence post. (Maybe that’s an East Texas saying, I’m not sure?) Anyhow, I was 5 or 6 and remember thinking she was speaking of the post out in the garden with the hat hanging on it. A fence post man? Anyhow, I was a lucky kid to grow up with the gardening stuff. Once I even planted a sunflower and it grew to be taller than me!  I think that was the only time in my life I planted something and had it survive. Well, except for the time I buried a pecan in the flower bed and it kept trying to grow into a tree. I got into a bit of trouble for that one.

Lately, my parents are only gardening every other year.  Just about everything they grow is for the salsa (except the blackberries, that is). My mom tells me the recipe is a simple one, that it was in a booklet that came with the pressure cooker. I don’t believe her though. I think she got creative, like she does with everything else and added extra stuff that she wouldn’t ever remember to write down.  Extra magical mom stuff. And then of course, my dad added extra brown sugar this year. Yum.

It is hands down THE best salsa I’ve ever tasted.  It is sweet & a little spicy and kind of soupy -but the soupiness is not a bad thing.  It goes perfectly with really thin tortilla chips. Or, I like to add a few spoonfuls to make a tasty meal out of a can of pinto beans.  My dad likes it best with Ritz Crackers?  I’m a dessert fanatic but would rather have this salsa w/ some chips any and every day.  I think I’ve seen my dad just eat it from the jar before. I would be lying if I said I haven’t snuck a spoonful.

Fortunately my parents have boxes of it. Still, it won’t last the year.

Even after the salsa is made, there are still plenty of tomatoes left in the garden. I was given these. I had hoped to make fried green tomatoes but I procrastinated & they all turned red.

What’s a girl to do with 40 tomatoes?!

Hmm… I bet Molly would know.

Slow-roasted tomatoes? That’s a great idea, Molly. Thanks!

Pac-Men tomatoes!

And there they are, 6 hours later. My house smells amazing at this point.

Look at that! Glistening & delicious & so very sweet. Such a burst of flavor.  These made the best pasta sauce.  And I got to freeze some for later. Hooray!

And then I just smeared the tomato on the bread & devoured it before I remembered the basil and mozzarella. Oh well. Still the best snack ever. Thanks mom & dad!

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Happy Fourth!

So guess what?  Going to the grocery store in the morning has reaffirmed my faith in humanity. I’m serious.  I’m so accustomed to going between 11pm-1am, when the one available checkout lane is always long, the cashiers are tired and my fellow customers are pushy.

Yesterday morning was a magical experience.  We were out of everything so I spent a lot, which is never fun.  However, a stocker joked with me about the puzzled look on my face as I searched in vain for cardamom pods.  (I wanted to make some chai).  A friendly older man  in the produce section told me I had pretty hair when I apologized for getting in his way. Best of all,  I was first in the checkout lane! The cashier made small talk about what kind of dog I had because she was observant & noticed I was purchasing dog treats.  It’s the little things that can make you happy sometimes.  Since Bryan & I now have opposite schedules and see each other for maybe 30 minutes a day, having contact with the outside world every now and then is truly wonderful…especially when the outside world is friendly for a change.

That being said, Happy 4th of July everyone in the outside world!  My holiday is not very traditional this year. No fire-works due to the “high risk of wildfires” and the lack of rain for over a month now?  Instead of grilling or having a BBQ,  I made some Indian food today. I found some recipes in Molly Wizenberg’s wonderful book so I attempted her husband’s chana masala recipe  and then for desert, a pistachio & honeyed apricot cake.  I decided to make both of those & then I also stumbled across directions for making homemade chai.   Yum.  I also made kolaches (or technically, klobasneks) for the week  – half are spinach and cheese & half are ham & cheese.  I’ve started making about 3 dozen every Monday so that we can eat them for breakfast all week.  Or for another meal if we’re feeling extra lazy one day 🙂  I will include the recipe on here sometime soon but it has been a very long day. A long and satisfying day of cooking & jamming out to Cream, especially this lovely song.

There it is. My favorite book lately. Oh and my very favorite tomatoes, courtesy of my parents’ garden.

And the chana masala  is the first  Indian food recipe I’ve attempted  & dare I say that it was better than what I’ve had in restaurants around here?  Great recipe.  One day, probably far into the future, I want to try to make Palak Paneer. It seems like it would be very difficult to make paneer…However, not according to the internet, so who knows?

Mmm buttery goodness.

Oh and dear readers, I have a question for you.  My bank used to award points for stuff. And I have quite a few saved up.  I can’t earn anymore unfortunately so it’s time to redeem them. I can either do a gift card to home depot or to Amazon.  If you know me, you probably know of my love for Amazon shopping. There is so much lovely music, reading material & tea I could purchase.  We’re talking almost a $200 gift card here.  My other option, that seems more sensible, would be to use these points toward a gift card at Home Depot & purchase a small freezer. I could make soups & pie crusts & store all kinds ot things to make cooking simpler.  When my parents offer me venison & pork and things from their garden, I could take them up on these offers! I could have ice on hand at all times.  I’ve never had a deep freezer before though & have heard that the smaller ones aren’t as energy efficient?  Do any of you have one & know if this is true or not? I’m faced with a tough choice here.  As much as I love Amazon, I feel like I don’t need more stuff.   I have too many books/cds to cart around everytime I move as it is.  I feel like I should live more simply. And while a freezer would still be more stuff in my house, it would be kind of useful?

Oh, my other option though is a refurbished IPOD.  But I can always listen to pandora or blip.fm or something right?  I don’t even have a car anymore or get to take long trips…soo…while I would love having all my music in one place, it seems kind of frivolous. Decisions, decisions.

Anyway, here’s the cake.  I wanted to make it in my Silicon bundt pan thing instead of a normal cake pan.  I had issues with it sticking though so the cake was not that pretty. But the tartness of the apricot with the honey flavor is wonderful!

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