Last night I was busily prepping veggies for a new batch of Farm Fresh Spring Rolls when my son, Max beckoned me to come outside to see what he had made. I was so surprised to see driveway art projects honoring Vegetarian Perspective! Of course I am a very biased mama, but the level of creativity and thoughtfulness stopped me in my tracks. I never really think much about what Max thinks about the VP blog, but his chalk-art creations seemed a testimony to his interest and respect for this project. Not only that, but I love the little reminder that the VP Blog is “not the gas,” meaning the same as “BP” the gas company! Will he be an engineer, an artist, or go into advertising? Wherever he ends up, he’ll need a spell checker!
At some point in your life you decide you have everything you could possibly need and most of what you want. At this point you are able to understand ideas of simplicity. You stop buying every brand of detergent to see which is best, staying at home becomes the free-time choice, you enjoy sparsely clad, tidy closets and food becomes almost boring. You find the most satisfying dishes are homey and primitive: a pot of soup, a loaf of bread or a simple steamed vegetable. And who wants to read about that on a blog?
Of course I have been cooking and eating, keeping to my mantra of healthy, and doing my best to feed everybody from sustainable sources, but it all just seems so simple and unappealing that I haven’t wanted to bother you with particulars, but I know you miss me.
Even though the food has been simple, I have been experimenting a bit. The polenta above was an attempt to make a beautiful layered dish – not so beautiful, but delicious. In another attempt at layers, I whipped up this vegetable lasagna made with sweet potatoes, butternut squash and eggplant. I loved it, but the boys wanted it mashed and pureed. They’re not that into big chunks of these particular vegetables!
Another idea was to pickle rhubarb with fennel bulb, red onion and radishes. I wanted it to be a sweet and tangy pink little pickle, but it just tasted funny. I think the radish set it off in the wrong direction.
So, as you can see, we’ve been eating simply as I wait impatiently for Foxtail Farm’s first CSA delivery. Once that box arrives, I hope my inspirations and successes in the kitchen will return!
Veganism. Pure and simple. An approach to health and lifestyle that embodies ethics, morality and all that is righteous. Why then, am I bothered by some of it? I get the idea of avoiding animal products and bi-products: flesh, bone, blood, skin, fur, milk and eggs. I get the idea that people are concerned about the ethical treatment of animals, caring for the environment and the health and nutritional well-being of humanity. I get that. What I don’t get is how vegans can promote this lifestyle while also promoting the production of plastic, non-biodegradable products like shoes and fake fur. Vegan opposition to the use of leather, seems to have limited, healthy alternatives.
We are out of control creating plastic clothing. Sure, some of it is made from recycled plastic bags, but once it gets a hole in it, or becomes rank from sweat not really “wicked” away, these garments head to the landfill or incinerator. Just like any other plastic, they emit pollutants when burned, and one has to believe that they may well emit toxic fumes in stable form. Perhaps the alternatives for vegans should not be plastic based products, but rather a support of companies that ethically produce leather, wool and cotton. In the long run, these are better for the environment than petroleum or plastics as they are completely compostable.
I also don’t get the vegan promotion of processed foods like meat and cheese alternatives. Some of these things come from reputable food companies and are natural or organic, but many of these products are loaded with salt and preservatives. They are far from healthy.
I’m a vegetarian because I think the idea of eating an animal’s flesh is disgusting – for me. It’s a personal thing kind of like not liking tomatoes. I may not want to eat meat, but I don’t mind if other people do. In fact, I favor the continued cultural practices of animal husbandry. I believe animals are helpful to humans and should be ethically and morally used to those ends. I believe in the family farm with horses, cows, chickens, and sheep. I believe these animals benefit from the kind care and attention of their owners, and their owners benefit from the bi-products these animals create: meat, milk, eggs and wool. If I did eat meat, I would be very selective about the meat I was choosing. I would want to know that it was grass-fed, not full of hormones, and from an animal that was treated respectfully. And, when choosing dairy or buying clothing, I buy from companies that are using ethical practices.
The last reason I am not vegan, my papa is a bee-keeper – brave man that he is! The photos below were taken in 1975 when a colony of honey bees made a home for themselves in the St. Charles Post Office, and my father, the local bee-keeper was called to remove them. I guess it’s all in your perspective as to whether bee-keeping is ethical, but just like the bears, we humans love the honey.
I’ve not been cooking much lately, but I have been experimenting here and there with bread. We’re thinking about putting a pizza oven in the back yard this summer, so I’ve been reading up on bread making, and have become fascinated with creating and using starters. The first loaf of sourdough I made didn’t quite reach high enough, but had a nice tangy sour flavor. After each loaf I make, Jeff is fascinated by the simplicity of bread. “Really, that’s all that goes into it? Just water and flour and salt? Kind of demystifies all the loaves and fishes stuff from my church-going childhood!”
When I was a kid, my mom always made bread. As part of the “Back to the Land Movement,” we often lived in houses with wood-cook stoves, so bread-making was a pretty big ordeal. You didn’t want to have to do it too often especially in the hot summer. The stove was stoked to a high heat and bread was made in great volume. If I remember correctly, I think we must have made four or five giant two-pound loaves a week. That was sufficient for our family of three.
My mom had a very large ceramic bowl that we actually called, “the bread bowl.” She would fill the bottom of it with warm water, add some yeast until it dissolved and then add a little honey and salt. Once that was all mixed, she would start adding flour one cup at a time and stir it with a big wooden spoon. When the dough became too stiff for the spoon, shirt sleeves would go up, and arms would go in. She’d begin the kneading process in the bowl until the dough was stiff enough to pour out on the counter. Then Mom would go into her rhythmic pattern of kneading: fold, push with the heel of the hand, turn counter-clockwise and repeat. I loved watching the dough transform from a pocky globby mess, to a satiny smooth ball. The ball would be left to rise for a few hours in the bread bowl, then later punched down, formed into loaves and left to rise again in the bread pans. When they were of appropriate fullness, the loaves were baked. Unlike the stuff I’ve been playing around with lately, Mom’s bread took only one day to make.
I still prefer to make bread Mom’s way. I never measure a thing and the bread always turns out just right. Using a starter, on the other hand, has been challenging and I am coming to the conclusion that it is the bread-making for chemists, statisticians, perfectionists and homebodies. Making traditional loaves is a wonderful challenge and I am sure it will feel easier once I get the hang of it. The results really are quite stunning!
I’ve become a big fan of Breadtopia. This site has wonderful recipes and great tutorials that really make bread-making seem simple. I’ve made a few of the no-knead sourdoughs as well as a Sicilian No Knead. I prefer the no knead recipes for their speed as well as the fact that they are a stickier dough which makes them easier to prepare in the stand mixer. The heavier doughs need a little knead and more time for fermenting and rising. The whole grain sourdough, for example, took me five days to complete! No single part was time-consuming, so could be messed with my few moments before work, or in the evening. These traditional European loaves prove one thing. There is no way Jesus could have possible fed 5000 people in the course of a few hours! Myth busted!
Doesn’t every nine-year-old need to learn to separate eggs? Some of my vegan readers may scream, “No!” and I completely understand. Nonetheless, waffles were requested, and the boy learned not only how to separate eggs, but to beat them to stiff peaks. We often take for granted these little building blocks in life that really are so important. Can you remember when you first learned to separate an egg? Good job, Maximilliano!
Bread, bread, bread. I can smell it, I can see it, I have to make it, so I go to the co-op to pick up a few things I need, and as I stroll through the aisle, cheesemonger Keith’s fabulous Camembert, from local Mankato, Minnesota Alemar Cheese Company, calls out to greet me. This beautiful cheese loves my idea of making bread, so in great anticipation of their partnership, I escort King Arthur and a soft white rind home for dinner.
Keith’s artisan soft-ripened cheese is like magic, and it demands warm bread to experience all its glory. This cheese, brilliantly white and creamy, when cut, begins to move. It slowly softens, puddles and flows. The soft rind holds up, but the inside spills out like a perfect molten lava cake. The flavors at first are creamy, then develop into an earthy tangy finish with fresh grassy tones. This cheese is superb – far better than any Normandy import. The ‘croûte fleurie’ rind is thin and lovely in flavor and texture; unlike many we find in the typical supermarket.
Now, bread making is a lot like cheesemaking I imagine. It’s fussy, time-consuming business, and as many of you know, I am not a fussy cook. I like to make things that are not complicated or lengthy, so I decide to try Bittman’s No-Knead Bread. No knead means less work, right? Well, this is a very nice bread recipe that turns out a crusty peasant loaf with very little muscle ache, but it is a multi-stepper that involves many hours of home-stay. In fact, shortly before it was ready to bake, I had completely forgotten it rising on the radiator, and was half-way out the door for a trot around the lake when I remembered it. The walk was postponed for over an hour in order to pre-heat the oven and then bake the loaf. Ay, yay, yay!
I am not a fussy cook, but I certainly appreciate those who are. Thanks to all of you who relish lengthy, multi-step food preparation processes! And thanks, Keith for the delicious cheese – Bravo!
I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed your body weight go through a yearly cycle? Some people say they always lose weight in the summer, for example. My body definitely goes through a yearly cycle. Every summer I gain weight and every fall, I lose it. Most years I go up and down ten to fifteen pounds. I’ve been on this cycle since I started teaching. There are two contributing factors to the weight gain. The first is that I am home not working in the summer and therefore, eat more. The second is that I am under no stress. In the fall when I go back to work, I suddenly find myself very busy with little time to eat, and suffer enormous anxiety which causes my body to drop weight, usually within three to four weeks. I am often down fifteen pounds by the end of September and can maintain that weight until the holidays. Once the routines of the classroom and workload are established, the weight slowly builds back on between November and August. Of course, I hate the stress and anxiety, but I love the weight loss. What I really love is not feeling hungry. Once I get busy, the adrenalin kicks in, my metabolism gets a jump, and I never feel hungry. It’s easy to keep a healthy weight if I rarely experience hunger. Once I start eating more, however, I find that I get hungry more quickly and then eat more and more often.
Lately, my favorite jeans are just a little too tight, and I find myself wishing that I could feel less hungry, so I decided to fast. Now, this is a break from my normal thinking. I don’t diet. I can’t. I’ve tried, but become completely obsessed with food, so this is not a diet. This is a fast. Not a spiritual quest, just a fast – a reduction in calories so I can get back to not needing to eat so much. I am clearly not an expert on these things, but I am listening to my body. When my weight is down, I tend to eat very little during the first part of the day and normally don’t find myself hungry until about 2:00 in the afternoon. If I have an apple, I can be sustained until my early dinner time of 5:00. So, I’m thinking, I need to find a way to break the hunger – I will fast.
I have no idea about fasting, but the idea made sense last Friday. I drank my regular morning cup of coffee, and had my favorite decaf unsweetened Chai throughout the day. The warm tea helped me feel full and fight off carb cravings. When I got home from work, I had a small bowl of soup. That’s it. For some reason, it felt right. It seems like my body needs to be deprived of carbohydrate calories, and when it is, the craving for them decreases.
I often look at dietary guidelines in shock. How can we eat three meals a day with a snack in between? I would be as big as a house if I did that. Again, I am not an expert, I am only going on fifteen years of self-study and what my body tells me, but I think our bodies need a lot fewer calories than recommended, and I don’t think it’s bad to deprive ourselves of food sometimes. I feel more healthy and am more comfortable when I have days of lower caloric intake followed by days of normal eating. Here’s another little dirty secret of mine: I hate eating breakfast, but don’t tell Health Partners. To keep my co-pays at this year’s level, I have to report everyday to my WELLNESS check what I ate for the day. They counsel me on healthy eating! The healthy eating tracker asks if I eat breakfast, and I always click the “yes” button even though I don’t have my apple until my 12:40 lunchtime everyday! They don’t say what time breakfast has to be consumed! If I eat breakfast at say 6:30 or 7:00 a.m., I am starving by 9:30. If I don’t eat breakfast, I am only mildly hungry at about 12:30.
So, I have decided to make Fridays a fasting day. The fast will begin Thursday evening with a no-carb vegetable dinner like a big salad or vegetable soup. Friday will be a day of low-calorie liquids, most likely tea, and a light dinner. The rest of the week I will eat normally, but I am going to try to back off the carbs a little each day and focus on vegetables and fruits.
I am not going on a diet! I know what you’re thinking. It’s just a fast on Friday. One twenty-four hour day – starting on Thursday.
I most certainly love my husband because he’s handsome and kind, but the things that draw me to him are rather inconspicuous. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I thought I would share a few ideas for you guys who really want to impress your sweetie in the kitchen this weekend. As you will see, it’s the small things that really matter!
- I love a man who wipes off the counters even if they’re speckled granite and he can’t see the crumbs.
- I love a man who loads and empties the dishwasher.
- I love a man who sets and clears the table.
- I love a man who packs lunch for his kids every day.
- I love a man who makes dinner for his wife and family.
- I love a man who knows what food brands his wife buys.
- I love a man who can grocery shop without a list because he knows what’s missing from the pantry.
- I love a man who supports exclusive co-op shopping because his wife does.
- I love a man who puts leftovers in glass or ceramic because he’s worried about plastics.
- I love a man who cares about what his kids eat, and helps curb sweets.
- I love a man who eats whatever is for dinner and always has a genuine compliment.
- I love a man who eats over a plate so not a crumb escapes to the floor.
- I love a man who knows something fell from his mouth while eating.
- I love a man who wipes the ketchup bottle before returning it to the fridge.
Feel free to add to the list. Isn’t it fun to think about all the little things people do that make us love them so much? Happy Valentine’s Day!
Besides goals for the blog itself, I have decided on a few next steps for myself.
I started this blog a little over a year ago with the idea that I would review restaurants from the vegetarian perspective. At the time, I was hoping if I complained loudly enough, someone would hear, and restaurants would start including more creative options for vegetarians. Well, this squeaky wheel did not get the grease.
In fact and frankly, the restaurant scene in Minneapolis is pretty boring for vegetarians, and in my humble opinion, has even deteriorated. We have many fine new restaurants, but unfortunately most of them offer nothing more than a few sides or a single vegetarian pasta dish. Unless the pasta is in an Italian restaurant, hand-made ravioli or the occasional, and very unique nightly special, to see pasta on a menu flabbergasts me. That’s right, I said flabbergasted. Without swearing, I cannot think of another word that so clearly defines my complete and utter disgust. I stare at the word “pasta” with shock and awe. You have got to be kidding me! Have I missed something? Have we all been living with the eighties mullet and puffed up big-hair bangs for the last twenty years and not even realized?
I have seen trends in food all my life. Once supper clubs and diners got old, other firsts started. Remember the first pizza, submarine sandwiches, bagels, shrimp, seafood, calamari, Greek, Mission Burritos, Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, Northern Italian, and Sushi? I bet if you think about it, you’ll be able to remember other firsts. The food and restaurant industries follow trends for all eaters except vegetarians. Don’t get me wrong, I like pasta, but at home in secret where I can repeat my mantra, “Pasta is so 80s!” Please, most of us have long ago evolved, and our diets include a diverse and exciting palate of grains, legumes and vegetables. Chefs have you ever thought that perhaps nobody orders the vegetarian option because it is so darn lack-luster? That’s right, I said lack-luster.
Well, around the time my CSA box started it’s weekly visit last summer, I got tired of begging and searching for something wonderful in the restaurants, and loved the challenge of getting creative with whatever was in the box, so decided to start posting a few recipes of my own. This was a turning point for Vegetarian Perspective. I no longer dreamed about lovely dinners in a restaurant, but instead dreamed of the fabulous meals I would create at home.
The arrival of the CSA posed a unique sort of challenge that thrilled me. You get this lovely box of fresh produce, you think about the guy who pulled it from the ground yesterday and the other guy who so nicely packed it and delivered it, and you don’t want to let a bit of it go to waste. How could you when you know personally the work that went into the growth and creation of the box? So here you have this produce, and you have to fit it into a recipe. In our modern world, cooking a recipe means deciding what you want to eat before you go to the grocery. You make a list of what you need, set out to purchase, and then come home to prepare the dish. With a CSA it is the other way around, and that stretches the creative juices. You have to cook what’s in the box.
As you know, vegetarians can consume large quantities of vegetables. The first year we participated in a CSA, our full-share was another farmers half, so we switched farms, because we were out of veggies three days after the box delivery. In sharing CSA stories with friends, I soon began to see that some people struggle with their CSA because they’re not sure what to do with all the produce, or they don’t have time for the creative process. So from May to September, Vegetarian Perspective had a clear focus: To create recipes for folks who get a CSA.
Once the CSA share ended, I found myself again trying to define the blog, and I also found myself back in the busy classroom with a new batch of students and very little time to cook. Things slowed down on Vegetarian Perspective, and I missed it. I missed my summer of morning cooking sessions and evening gatherings around the food.
Cooking has become addicting to me, and posting to the blog has been one of the results. But I am also beginning to understand how the social part of food motivates me. I need to make this food, and I need to share it because somewhere deep down, I want people to understand that meatless is wonderful, and can very easily replace a meat-based diet. My CSA box produced a lot of meals this summer, and we began to invite guests to enjoy it. We had a summer filled with parties and great food. Going to a restaurant was the last thing on my mind because everything I wanted was right here at home.
As I have confirmed in my search, good vegetarian food is not coming out of many Minneapolis restaurants. And, I also think that restaurants with their set menus have become too monotonous for modern culture. People want to be surprised, want something new and want things to change. Outstanding in the Field, Dinner on the Farm, and meals in Art Studios are growing in popularity. Because of this realization and my experience with last summer’s CSA cook-off, I have been inspired to venture into the Underground scene. Beginning in a few short months, Vegetarian Perspective will exist in both the virtual and carbon-based world. During the warmer months, I am going to attempt to prepare a weekly vegetarian meal based on my ideals of fabulous food. The menu will be outlined each week, but specifics may not be determined until the meal is actually prepared. Each meal will be based on whatever foods are the freshest at the time. I am not going to limit myself to only local fare for this first run, but will most likely participate with one or two only-local meals in August during the Eat Local Challenge. The main goal is to provide a venue for fabulous vegetarian food, and secondary goals include teaching vegetarianism and creating a larger social network of friends.
To start, the guest list will be by invite only and include friends of friends, but eventually I would like to open to a larger audience. Please feel free to send me your contact information through the vegetarian perspective email, and I will let you know when I open to the public.
Last summer I dubbed one of our parties, Dinner on the Driveway and another Picnic on the Patio, but the VP Underground is yet to be named. I just read of a new underground called Hush, and was reflecting on the irony of the fact that my never-came-to fruition restaurant was to be named “Bulla” (boo-ya) which is Honduran slang for “making noise.” I wanted to make noise about vegetarian food back in 2002 when I thought I might open a restaurant, and here I am again. Perhaps we should call it No Hagan Bulla! – Stop Making Noise! Any thoughts? I’m open to suggestions.
Again, thank you all for your readership. It’s been a fun year of creating and connecting with people across the Blogosphere – I have learned a ton from you all.
A little over a year ago I started this rag with barely an idea of what a blog is. I still struggle to understand the how-to of it all. For example, I am obviously no food photographer, I still don’t quite understand “Comments” etiquette and I’ve gone back and forth over whether to post ads or not. I’m clearly still on the blogger’s learning curve.
Not only do my photos lack a story, but often my writing is dull. Sometimes food is memoir for me, and those have been fun stories to create around a delicious memory-inducing meal, but other recipes have little story, or suffer in their presentation due to my lack of creativity. I just post them for myself so I can remember what I made and how.
My blog is also not clearly defined. Am I a restaurant review site, or a recipe site? I have not clearly branded myself. I am not one to use the platform to instruct on the virtues of vegetarianism or nutritional benefits despite the title, Vegetarian Perspective. I rarely focus in any direct and purposeful way on that food lifestyle. I guess I don’t really think about it very much. It’s just what I am. I don’t eat meat. Vegetarianism is so totally intuitive for me that I cannot understand how creating meals for “Meatless Mondays” could possible be a challenge. To me it seems obvious that humans should eat many foods that are meatless. Lack of creative vegetarian cooking in restaurants surprises me considering scientific research that suggests our species should eat a primarily vegetarian diet. I guess my focus is on cooking foods that I love to eat, not to necessarily teach others about the diet.
I support local, organic, sustainable foods as well as artisan food preparation, but I don’t spend much time with this blog commenting on these things either. Again, I take it for granted and assume we have made a shift in our food-buying practices over the last few years to support these endeavors, as they are the healthier choices.
I don’t comment on the fact that I rarely use processed foods, I don’t comment much on the fact that I try to keep sugar out of our diet, and I don’t comment on the fact I try to feed my family only real food. In fact, most of the time I don’t even think about these things. It’s intuitive for me perhaps because it is what I grew up with, and I am surrounded by people who think like me.
I started this blog with an intention that shifted. I moved away from restaurant review towards recipes, and when I did this my readership began to grow. It became clear to me that I prefer to cook, I love to share my creations, and I enjoy the process of keeping a record of it all.
In reflection, I have two goals for the next year:
1) Improve the quality of photography
2) Continue to define and brand the site
Thanks to you all for your support. Blogging has been a fun hobby, has opened new doors, and introduced me to knew ideas and friends.
I should have had more kids. I need a staff! I love beautiful things, but they take time to make or create. I always notice a lovely flower arrangement or a well-balanced room design and I take this sensibility to party hosting. There’s nothing better than throwing a party with fabulous food and beautiful little accents – if you can manage to put it all together. If I had a few kids around the house, I would perhaps have enough hands to help with more than the food. If I don’t set the table before the party, we’re eating à la buffet, if I don’t do the decorating the day before, we rely on the old standby of candles on the table. Hosting and cooking and decorating is a lot of work. Martha makes it look so easy… I’m sure the staff hiding in the wings is a big help.
Last night we threw a little “Mexico in Minnesota” soiree, and wouldn’t it have been a perfect compliment for the guests to be greeted by warm dancing candlelight inside a frozen hurricane lamp? Unfortunately, I didn’t think to put these out front until today. I made them back in November, got busy, went away for a few weeks and forgot about them under the snow. For the party, I did manage to get flowers into a vase, and coincidentally received some lovely orange candles from my dad that paired nicely. I love those kinds of coincidences, but the centerpiece was still a little boring. Getting all the pieces together for a party is tough and a skill I am still practicing.
The ice hurricanes are pretty easy to make if you have a couple of big plastic containers. I used some five gallon leftover sheet rock “mud” buckets that Jeff had stored in the garage. I filled them four inches with water and let them freeze. After the bottom was frozen, I used a smaller plastic container to create the opening. I weighted down the small container with rocks and filled the sheet rock buckets with water. We used some rubber golf balls around the rim of the inserted plastic container to keep it from tipping from one side to the other. The walls of the hurricane lamps are about one inch thick. I have used plastic mop-buckets with food storage containers – anything that will create this shape. Once they are frozen solid, run hot water inside the insert tub to slide it out and then around the outside of the big tub, so the lamp releases.
If you have lots of time for decorating, float cranberries, orange slices or pine boughs in the water for added visual appeal.
Another cool way to make ice lamps is to use water balloons. You will want to use a large balloon. Fill it with water and set it out to freeze. Check it often because the idea with those is to leave the inside unfrozen. Once the outside freezes to about an inch. Take a screwdriver and break a hole into it. Remove the balloon and the remaining water. You need just enough space to insert a tea-light candle. Here’s a link with more directions.
People always ask me how I have time to cook. The answer is simple, I don’t. I don’t really have time to cook while holding down a full-time job, so I only do it when I have time. Once I get home from an exhausting day in the classroom, the last thing I want to do is cook: I’m too tired, too wiped and too hungry.
Last summer while cooking up all the CSA veggies, I would cook in the mornings when I had energy, and either reheat or finish cooking before dinner. I found that I was excited to get up every morning to cook and I enjoyed the process so much more. I never felt rushed, and something changed in my thinking. Before this, I had this old-fashioned idea that making dinner meant cooking right before the meal, but times have changed. Now, I prepare all the food ahead of time and rarely cook before a meal. This shift has been so liberating. Most of the time we have food ready to reheat so that eating can take place within a few minutes. In fact, I don’t think it takes more than five minutes to get a meal on the table in my house with this process.
I like to cook in the morning, so once school started again, I began to cook on Saturday or Sunday. I can be in the kitchen for two or three hours one day a week and prepare at least two meals that can be enjoyed as leftovers or repurposed somehow. I also make sure we have fruit and veggies prepped for easy consumption.
As you know, soup is a great base. Once a pot of soup is made, it is easy to serve it with grilled sandwiches, quesadillas or a salad. We almost always have black beans and rice in the fridge so we can make stuffed burritos, beans and rice or quesadillas. Another easy-to-reheat dish is a casserole. I often make enchiladas, lasagna or some other one-dish-wonder that will last to the next couple of days.
We all like salad in our house, so I make sure there are greens ready at all times. If leafy greens are not consumed as salad, they’re stuffed into burritos, sandwiches or chopped on top of something. Max prefers Romaine, so there is always a big bowl of that ready to go, as well as chopped cilantro.
Sometimes I cook one week night and it’s always something really simple like a stir-fry or pasta dish. Those kinds of meals can be served with only twenty or thirty minutes of prep time. If the veggies get prepped on the weekend, it’s even less.
The most important time saver for me has been the Linden Hills Co-op. We moved a few years ago, and we only live three blocks from the shop. It’s a lovely little store that makes grocery shopping really easy. It never takes me more than ten minutes to get my shopping done. In fact, I can leave my house, do my shopping and be home in twelve minutes. In my old neighborhood I used to wait in line for the cashier sometimes for a half hour. It’s the little things in life that end up being the time savers. My advice: simplify your cooking routine and simplify your shopping.
This is the sweet birthday cake my two favorite boys brought home from Whole Foods (cough, cough, shh, don’t tell, please!) It is an amazing lemon layer cake sandwiching lemon custard all wrapped up with a pretty buttercream icing. It is so delicious in all it’s sugary badness!
This is the savory, healthy, adult version of the “birthday cake.” Thin slices of potato and roasted beets act as the crusts holding in the garlic speckled brown rice in place. To decorate, radishes were halved before roasting. This crazy concoction was tasty enough, but the beets didn’t really pair well with the rice and potatoes. The fact that they bled onto the rice gave the dish a unique esthetic, but the sweetness of the beets didn’t match the other flavors. The dish won points for interest and beauty, it’s definitely edible, but overall fantastic, it is not. How can we make thinly sliced beets into something fantastic? I had visions of a beet upside down cake of sorts. If you come up with anything, let me know!
In the mean time, I’ll eat two birthday cakes for dinner!
The CSA box is rolling in as the folks at Foxtail Farm have been busy, and I continue my didication to consuming every last morsel that they deliver despite an eighty hour work week. Fifth grade and Fall mean ‘busy’ for a teacher! This last week brought Paella. Onions, garlic, peppers, turnips and tomatoes. Rice can also be whipped into Fried by adding onions, garlic, broccoli, carrots, spinach, mirin and soy sauce. In a whirlwind of needing sustanance, nothing got photographed. As they say in Latin America, “Manana.”