Saturday, October 27, 2007

Rained/slept out

No greenmarket today, because it's raining really hard...and I didn't wake up until 10:30 this morning. But I've noticed over the past few weeks that the weekday markets are growing (though they're still not as populous as Saturday's), so stocking up on Monday won't be so bad.

Habaner-oh no: This week I finally used that heap of peppers I bought last Saturday. I roasted the seven little poblanos and the four mild mystery peppers; I added these along with the three teensy habaneros, minced finely (without seeds) to my pot along with onions, spices, and six cans of black beans. And, several hours later, I had a delicious-smelling pot of inedibly spicy beans. Those innocent, cute habaneros! I didn't realize just how hot they'd be. Luckily, I have been able to rescue the batch by using part at a time, cutting it with more black beans; a proportion of 2:1 or higher is necessary, and even then they are still quite spicy. The mix of peppers does give the beans quite a lovely favor, though I think I'll steer clear of the habaneros next time.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Veg vs. The Rock

The winner is pretty clearly The Veg since I'm at home before 3 a.m. on CMJ Thursday. I had decided this morning that I wouldn't go out to shows tonight, but I faced many temptations throughout the day (party at Mama's with free mac 'n' cheese being the most notable). And yet my plan to go home and bake a butternut squash won out over seeing live music in the company of other humans.

You see, I love squash, and butternut is my favorite. Squash is like the perfect carrot and potato got together and had sexy babies. Saturday night is squash ravioli night, and I'll be out of town until Saturday afternoon, so tonight I baked the squash, let it cool, then scooped the flesh into a tupperware for refrigeration (and for inevitable midnight snacking).

As part of the next step in my quest to take being a nerd back to its antisocial not-cool roots, for the rest of the night I will be watching cartoons while knitting socks, and probably daydreaming a little bit about squash ravioli night.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Oh no, you got kale in my mashed potatoes!

Maybe winter won't be so bad if I can have this colcannon all the time. It is what the annoying might call a "no-brainer" - three of the best foods (garlic mashed potatoes, kale, and seitan) sharing one stage...the event of a lifetime!

Thank you, Vegan Yum Yum. Thank you for giving me hope where my wintry future offers none.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Strawberries in October

Today I was on a very strict budget, and forcing myself to keep to a list. But when I had $5 left and had to choose between tomatoes (on the list; necessary for many of this week's planned dishes), and totally unexpected strawberries, I chose the latter.

I scrimped, I saved:
1 bunch kale
1 bunch chard
1 bunch beets
1 lb. green beans
2 zucchini
2 yellow onions
4 shallots
1 butternut squash
1 lb. lima beans (in shell)
1 lb. green seedless grapes
1 pt. strawberries
Total spent: $32

Because my brain is obviously not ready for fall yet, I forgot about last week's apples until Thursday, so they only made it in one lunch - plenty left to tide us through until next Saturday, especially since I can alternate with grapes.

Buying my year's first butternut squash felt a bit like a concession, but there is very little struggle left against the impending autumn, and the weather has admitted as much by becoming decidedly crisp and chilly. My plans for this harbinger are nevertheless ambitious - I want to fill ravioli with butternut squash puree, and serve them, simply and classically, with herbed butter.

I was very happy to find the limas, as I've been reading so much about the glories of fresh shell beans, and the cranberry beans we had last week were quite nice. My photo assistant loves lima beans, so I may enlist his help in the shelling.

And the strawberries? I have no idea where they came from. The organic grower I usually hit up at the tail end of my USG trip for Sungold tomatoes was putting them out as I was browsing tomatoes; though initially incredulous, I tasted one and couldn't resist their unseasonal delight. These strawberries aren't a straightforward, perfect, mid-season joy - they have a bit of an herbal, almost medicinal edge to them - but their innate strawberryness isn't troubled by this complexity. Of course, I've eaten about half of them already.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Several hours later.

The tomato, goat cheese, and arugula salad might be a cliche by now, but it's still delicious, and damned photogenic.

There is a light that never goes out

I put off this morning's USG trip for hours, because I was sleepy from a late night at a rock show, knew it would be crowded when I got there (I didn't wake up until 9:30), and I was not looking forward to my first weekly haul of fall vegetables. But once I started walking around the market, I got so wrapped up in all my options that I didn't notice the crowds or the startling ubiquity of apples and (already!) squashes. I should have known the USG wouldn't let me down - the fact that I spent way more money than usual despite having only one night of dinner at home next week notwithstanding.

None of this is murder:
1 box white raspberries
8 apples (Macoun, Empire, Mutsu)
1 lb. seedless grapes (half Marquis, half red)
1 pint Sungold tomatoes
1 pint Black Cherry tomatoes
1 lb. cranberry beans
3 ears bicolor corn
1 bunch carrots
1 bag spinach
1 bunch red Russian kale
1/4 lb. rughetta (spicy Italian arugula)
1 lb. golden nugget potatoes
2 heads Rocambole garlic
assorted chili peppers: Novallo?, Poblano, Scotch bonnet
Total spent: $56

I have no idea what to make with cranberry beans, but they are so lovely! Inside they're plain white, but the pods are just too beautiful. I am thinking maybe I'll create some sort of succotash with the cranberry beans and the corn for our one night of home-cooked dinner. And I'll use the gorgeous and probably way-too-spicy (Scotch bonnets? Am I serious??) peppers in a pot of black beans, assuming I can find the time to cook them during this crazy week.

Almost everything else will be used in lunches - the greens will be added anywhere I can put 'em, the potatoes and rughetta will be combined into a cold potato salad, and the carrots, apples, and grapes will be eated as is. (My worries about not having fresh fruit anymore have been momentarily assuaged by the abundance of grapes in many varieties.)

I have no plans for the white raspberries, because I already ate them! They were odd-looking, like Bunnicula had struck - about the color of champagne - but quite delicious. If I was in charge, all raspberries would taste this way. They were perhaps a bit tarter than their red counterparts, but nonetheless tasted absolutely raspberry-y. Lovely.

Next week I'll probably give in and buy my first squash. I'm trying to come up with a good way to use squash in lunches...perhaps just cubed and lightly-dressed as a side "salad." Since our microwave at the office stopped working last week, I've been working on cold and room temperature lunch dishes that are nonetheless filling and satisfying. It's been quite good for my creativity, I think, and I don't have to confront my (undoubtedly correct) fear of microwaving food in plastic. So far it's been all wraps and pasta salad, but I'm going to try the aforementioned potato salad and some grain salads next week.