please, mr. president.

i am ready for a change in food policy. i want better foods, grown in a way safe for the environment and my body. and everyone else's. i mostly want to eat food that is food. 

the nytimes published a nice piece on the topic
i am not convinced much will change, but there's hope. 


just for proof.

tracy and i made caramel popcorn balls for keith's carnival-themed party. so easy. pop corn. melt caramels with a bit of butter. mix together. form into balls.

this is tracy cooking. in case you didn't believe it.

i told the kids.

i recently mentioned to my students (who are in high school) not to drink red bull and vodka. i had the pleasure of being told about some weird combinations of things that their peers are into drinking. i suggested that they be smart about what they are putting into their bodies, and how confusing it is for the body to understand a stimulant and a depressant at the same time.

and now this. they are taking the caffeine out of sparks, which is an alcoholic energy drink apparently marketed towards teenagers! it also has taurine, which is pretty gross in and of itself; it comes from ox bile.

MillerCoors is removing the caffeine, taurine, guarana, and ginseng from the drink. it also promises not to make drinks like it in the future. thank goodness.

it's hard to make good choices when seemingly reputable sources are giving you such unfortunate information. or selling you things that make no sense at all.

and this kind of information just makes me sad.

the kids don't stand a chance.


we have a potluck christmas party for my office. we are supposed to sign up to cook something in a particular category, and i usually make dessert. alas, i was way too slow this year, and spent much time deliberating about what to make. finally, i decided on biscuits, which i had never made before. and they were so easy; it was ridiculous.

i found a base recipe from cooking light (again!), and edited it.
2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
5 tbsp chilled butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup milk
3 tbsp honey

1. combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. put the bowl in the fridge for about 10 minutes.
2. mix together milk and honey, stirring with a whisk until blended. add mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moist. (do this by hand with a wooden spoon or spatula. you do not need a mixer for this recipe.)
3. this is the part that i definitely copied: "Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 4 times. Roll dough into a (1/2-inch-thick) 9 x 5–inch rectangle; dust top of dough with flour. Fold dough crosswise into thirds (as if folding a piece of paper to fit into an envelope). Reroll dough into a (1/2-inch-thick) 9 x 5–inch rectangle; dust top of dough with flour. Fold dough crosswise into thirds; gently roll or pat to a 3/4-inch thickness. Cut dough with a 1 3/4-inch biscuit cutter to form 14 dough rounds. Place dough rounds, 1 inch apart, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper."
4. bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until golden. remove from pan and cool on wire racks.

*i also made some with cheddar. i shredded it and folded it into the dough during step 3. i also sprinkled a bit of cheese on top.

thanksgiving, in houston.

thanksgiving with my parents is a serious event. there is a lot of food, drinks, people. this year, i realized that much of what we eat is smooshy. we seemingly love foods that require little chewing. except the oranges, the rolls, and the turkey. i don't really like oranges and i am vegetarian, so i basically just need a spoon to eat this meal.
farrell (and now blake) makes the best mashed potatoes. his secret? mayonnaise. no, you can't taste it, but it makes them perfectly creamy and lovely.
of course, one kind of potato is not enough. sweet potatoes: sugary and crisp on the top. yum.
green bean casserole that could survive nuclear fallout. if there were to be a disaster, we could still eat this dish, as everything comes from a can! last year, blake and i made a "real" version with fresh green beans, and mushrooms, and organic milk and all, but it was truly not the same dish.
the photograph is sort of gross, but sums up the mushiness of the meal. i am obviously eating seconds of mashed potatoes, really my favorite part. i should just eat a bowl of them. the rest is just "small potatoes" (ha ha ha) in comparison.

those chips.

i was given a bag of jalapeno chips for thanksgiving (even though they are not in the striped bag anymore). i know people don't typically give gifts for this holiday, but blake and beth were really good to me. those texans really know how to make a chip.

the snow.

the incredible amount of snow and the lack of desire to go anywhere is helpful for those of you who read this blog. i have piles of photographs, dating at least back to thanksgiving, and it is time i write about what i have been cooking.

so, here we go.


i'm a pepper.

for the last 17 years, guns n' roses have been working on their album, "chinese democracy." no one thought they would ever finish it, especially not dr pepper. it seems as though the band took so long to make the album that, in march, dr pepper announced it would give a free dr pepper to EVERYONE IN AMERICA if they finished and released the album this year.

and they did it.
and dr pepper is making good on their promise. today only.

go to the dr pepper website, and fill out the form. they will send you a coupon and you get a free bottle of soda (though i think it is better in a can). unfortunately, it seems as though many people are doing it, because my page has been trying to complete the form for hours. yes, i have tried more than once. and tried the hotline.

but, it's worth a shot, even if it is made with high fructose corn syrup. it's so good. i am hoping for one with imperial sugar when i am in texas next week.

chipotle, for dominic.

chipotle is not my favorite place. growing up in texas, i was used to having tasty, cheap mexican food at my disposal. that is, until i moved to new york. there are seemingly many, many mexican joints, but i have yet to find one i really like. they just lacking, in everything.

and new yorkers love burritos. maybe it's all of america, but i am unsure. real mexican food is not so burrito-heavy, but, well, you take what you can get.

we used to have burritoville, which was my favorite of the chain burrito places, but it closed down, of course. (i would eat one during the faculty meeting at school every friday, and my fridays are not the same without it.) it was spicy and lovely, and nothing came from a can. my kind of place.

there is a chipotle near my office, and my co-workers love it. i rarely want to go. it just doesn't do it for me. and there are some reasons.
1. it was owned by mcdonalds. i learned of its ownership many years ago, and used to boycott it just on principle. mcdonalds is known for using less-than-ideal products and advertising gimmicks, and i just did not want to support the operation. a nugget is not a part of a chicken, and those fries are not vegetarian.
2. the 1000-calorie burrito. we are supposed to eat approximately 2000 calories per day. probably less, really. there is no reason for one item to have so many calories. it's hard to burn. i realize that mexican food items are often pretty fatty, but this takes the cake (or the burrito). this is no lie. in new york, chains are required to post calorie-content on the menus and i've seen it with my very own eyes.
3. i just don't think these burritos are all that.

my friend, dominic, was dreaming of burritos one night at spuyten duyvil when i started to rant about chipotle. he was surprised to learn i was not a fan of the chain. i was suprised to learn, as he whipped out his fancy iphone and proved to me, that chipotle is not really like mcdonalds at all. or tries not to be.

From Newsweek:
"In 2000, Chipotle has been serving sour cream and cheese free of the hormone rBGH, organic beans, and naturally raised pork, chicken and meat. Last month it announced it would buy locally grown produce whenever possible. Up next: dairy products from pasture-raised cows.

Chipotle uses few USDA-certified organic products and instead follows its own, sometimes less stringent, protocol. Pigs destined for a Chipotle Carnitas burrito receive no antibiotics, eat a vegetarian diet and must have access to either open pasture or deeply bedded pens. Unlike organically raised animals, their feed does not have to be organic and pesticide-free. Both protocols allow pigs to spend their lives indoors in crowded conditions, though farmers like Kremer shun that practice."

ok, ok.
now, i can criticize the taste of their products, but not their practices. it seems that they have seen the light. they are trying, at least. those are horomone-free calories. and from animals that might have seen grass. maybe. but that's a rant for another time.


have i mentioned cooking light? my favorite cooking magazine? it comes out monthly, and the november/thanksgiving issue is always incredible. it's how i learned to cook a turkey last year, no small feat for a person who has been vegetarian for more than half her life.

so, i decided i was going to make a variety of dishes from the magazine last tuesday, as we had an abundance of what seemed like every vegetable under the sun.

first, i made cauliflower gratin, using this recipe, and a mix of broccoli and a fancy, beautiful varietal of cauliflower. (because these recipes are available, i am just going to link to them.) i used a pie pan instead of a baking dish and soy milk instead of cow, but, i followed the recipe pretty closely.

i then made brussels spouts, using this recipe, with raisins instead of currants.

photo one: sauteing the pine nuts.
photo two: everything is prepped. (there is vegetable broth in the jam jar.)
photos three and four: the entire dinner, with a salad of arugula and tomato. and brown jasmine rice.
you, too, can make this meal.

palmiers, palmiers.

in france, there are two pastries that i love, and both are full of butter and sugar: brioches and palmiers. the french don't screw around with their treats. each one is as lovely as the next.

liz and kim and i had a pre-thanksgiving dinner party last night, mostly because liz wanted to make and eat stuffing. in addition to all the savory foods, i made the baby apple cakes (yes, again, but for a different audience) and miniature palmiers.

the barefoot contessa helped with this recipe. and it's so easy. and awesome.
1. mix 1/2 cup sugar with a pinch of salt. spread half of it onto your workstation (i did it on a wooden cutting board).
2. unfold one piece of puff pastry over the sugar, evenly distribute the rest of the sugar over it, and roll it until it becomes approximately a 13-inch square. yes, sugar all over it.
3. fold in each side halfway, and then fold the whole thing in half. it will have six layers.
4. slice it into 1/2 slices (the same way you do when you buy the frozen rolls of cookie dough).
5. lay them onto pieces of parchment paper; they will look like teeny pretzels.
6. cook for 5 minutes at 350 and then flip them with a spatula and cook for 4-5 more.

yep. on the cake plate with cranberry-chocolate-oatmeal squares. looks like the plate of goodies after synagogue, the oneg shabbat.

ready or not.

sometimes i just don't want to sit down and write about the food. i photograph it all the time, with the intention of writing with regularity, but it gets late and then, well, i am asleep. and then i have weeks of food pictures and it is overwhelming to write about a variety of dishes at the same time.

but i am going to be better. starting today.


afraid of risotto.

i recently used a sweet potato risotto recipe from real simple. we had an enormous butternut squash, so i used that instead of sweet potato. it looks very pretty, especially next to a colorful salad of arugula, carrot, and fresh-roasted pumpkin seeds.

i had recently listened to a podcast on npr: food about risotto, about how americans are afraid of risotto, about how easy it is to make. i was never afraid of it; i mean, it's just arborio rice. what is there to be afraid of?

but, it wasn't so exciting, that risotto. i am unsure why; there were fresh spices, a good dry white wine, and even a bit of red bell pepper. it was just lacking. no idea why, really. it's maddening.

baby cakes.

i don't want to reveal this recipe. it's my mother's apple cake, but, in this case, miniature. i loved to eat this cake growing up, and i initially did not even want to learn to make it. i loved the idea that my mother would just bake one for me when i visited. it's super sugary, and full of real apples, but i was always allowed to eat it for breakfast.

i made the small ones for my students, for the afternoon they decorated the school for halloween. it was already weeks ago, but i am still thinking about the cakes.

they were lovely.
maybe, one day, i will give you the recipe. maybe.

quick, and to the point.

it's that time of year. when the weather changes all of a sudden, and there's rain, and you are not feeling so hot. after work today, i went immediately home to rest, missing a friend's party for her bar. after a shower and a cup of tea comprised of peppermint, chamomile, cinnamon, and maybe echinacea, i decided to make dinner.

liz has a new system, which includes making a list of the vegetables in the refrigerator. she posts it on the door, and puts a star next to the items that are the oldest, reminding us to use them first. we've had way too many greens for at least a month, and i feel a terrible pressure to use them. i don't like to be wasteful. the current bag of greens is a combination of arugula and spinach.

the dinner. so simple.
i cooked some organic pasta, and shredded some white cheddar. after i drained the pasta, i mixed in the cheddar, as well as some chopped greens. i topped it off with some sliced tomato.

really, it was very good.


pumkpin on a pedestal.

on the way home from the camping trip, we stopped at a pumpkin patch. so exciting. pumpkins of all shapes and sizes and colors. yes, just when you thought you could only get orange ones, there are striped pumpkins.

mine is the white one. i carved it today, choosing the child-like process of freehand. yes, i did it without drawing the face on it first. it's silly and funny and perfect. and has great eyebrows.

the whole process is so rewarding: choosing a pumpkin, carving and decorating it yourself, roasting the seeds. i love eating pumpkin seeds. and they are easy.

1. clean the seeds of any goop. rinse off all that stringy stuff.
2. put them on a baking sheet and lightly coat them in olive oil and salt. you can add other things, like tamari or garlic or, really, just about anything you want.
3. bake at 325 for 25 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until they are roasted.
4. let them cool.
5. eat. so tasty.
yes, my pumpkin is posing next to a peacock. liz found it the other day.


you know, all those roads labeled "FM" are for farm-to-market. they are not described this way in new york, but there are a bunch of them in texas. i used to live nearest to FM 1092.

anyhow, these are roads by which the farmers used to take their goods to the marketplace to sell them, to connect the rural and urban areas. but my guess is that it has been many, many years since FM 1092 was used in that fashion. there are gas stations and supermarkets and things, but a farmers' market? doubtful.

but, what if i wanted to figure out the location of the closest farmers' market? i would use this website. it's pretty cool; you can check out CSAs, markets, actual farms. and then you can visit them. and buy their food. and eat it.


ugh. and right after the olympics, too.

the united states finally has a pretty decent relationship with china. (can we thank richard nixon for breaking ground there? doubtful, it seems.) the world gathered for the olympics and it all seemed to go so well, even with the "enhanced" fireworks on tv and the potentially underage gymnasts. whatever. we got over all of it.

americans buy a ton of chinese-manufactured goods. they are cheap, and seemingly hold up alright. we are supportive of their confusing communist-capitalist economy. americans have continued to buy the chinese toys even after it was found that they are toxic.

and now, the milk. (and herbal medicine, but the media has not focused on that.) there's melanine in chinese milk products. what is melanine?

i did some reserarch. it's an organic compound mixed with formaldahyde. yes, the stuff that dead animals are kept in biology class so one can dissect them. it produces a resin that makes it heat tolerant and fire resistant. it's not shocking to discoer that it is typically found in whiteboards, tiles, kitchenware, fabrics, and filters--things that are inedible. why is it in food products? unsure. in 2007, it killed 1000s of animals because it was in the pet food and livestock feed. we don't learn.

what has the fda done? recalled some products.

and? well, they can't force stores to remove the products from the shelves. they can just recall it.

apparently, in america, it's mostly in chinese candies. but in china, it's in the baby formula, the one item america apparently does not import. 1000s of chinese babies are sick, have acute kidney failure. 53,000 people have fallen ill. i read today that a malaysian company has been found to have melamine in their biscuits.

shouldn't something be done? shouldn't there be inspectors of the goods we import? what the hell is happening? what is the point of the fda if people keep getting sick from their food?

today, such a good breakfast.

i woke up way too early today, but the good thing is that i had the kitchen to myself. forever. as i typically do on the weekends, i decided to fry an egg. perfect.
i then cut up some chili peppers that i got from the farmers market. they are, far and away, the hottest peppers that i have purchased since i have lived in new york. i chopped some onion and garlic and sauteed them in safflower oil. i added some black beans. i love black beans with my eggs.
obviously, a meal is not a meal without chips. we have a bag of organic blue corn chips, and i threw a bit of hell on the red salsa over them. (this is the salsa that reminds me of home. tina sent me two jars this week!) i added some carrots for vitamins. and color. as expected, i ate it all. yes, that's a pumpkin next to my plate. yes, that is the fork april stole and gave to me.


dedicated to me.

the nytimes sunday magazine has been created in my honor.
check it out.

but, really, the picture says it all.


favorite food.

i announced to the roommates today that my favorite food is chips. i prefer potato or corn, but i could probably eat any of the chip varieties.

blake and i ate a lot of herr's chips in harlem; he likes the rippled ones. i love love love jalapeno chips, especially the ones that came in the red and white striped bag that i ate as a kid. i have no idea the brand. in new york, i eat dirty's "jalapeno heat." i also love to put chips inside the sandwich, for both crunch and flavor. i think blake hit the nail on the head when he wistfully mentioned that "the sandwich shops should have chips as a topping." yes, sir, i agree.

AN ADDENDUM, october 10: blake mentioned that we mostly ate utz chips. it's true. i was confused in my chip-eating frenzy.

HOT DAMN. ANOTHER ADDENDUM. there is one memory that stands out with the jalapeno chips. i am in the van, a 1986 gmc safari, the car my father loved more than anything, and eating handfuls of the chips and i can't stop because then my mouth will be on fire. (the key was to keep eating them.) we are on our way to port aransas or south padre island for the weekend. it must have been in 5th or 6th grade.


the genius.

i have visions that, one day, i will win a macarthur genius grant. you don't essentially win one for a certain project, but for being an overall genius. you get to do whatever you want with the funds; it's not for a specific project. having spent most of my adult life studying history, i guess that is the field for which i would be nominated.

but, today, there is an article in the nytimes about a farmer who won the grant. he created a program, Growing Power, to grow fresh foods in urban, economically-distressed areas. he plans to use his funds to take it all "off the grid." it's so awesome that i feel like a jerk for wanting a genius grant at all.

eden is lovely.

it's often hard for me to want to drink milk from cows. or goats, for that matter. it's a bizarre concept that humans might want to drink the milk of another animal. i don't think there are other animals that do such things. i am not vegan, and certainly eat foods (especially cheese) made from cow's milk, but i was never a fan of drinking milk. (interestingly, i was allergic to it as a baby, and was fed soy.) i typically bake with the so-called "regular" milk, though. for flavor.

i am a fan of soy milk. lately, my roommate, liz, has been experimenting with different milk products. we currently have almond milk and rice-soy milk, but she's also tried hemp, and probably some other things.

i love the rice-soy milk by eden foods. it's tasty and has a good consistency. and, eden foods is that "oldest natural food company in North America." it was started by a group of friends in 1968 who decided to produce goods that they could not find in stores. none of their products are made with things that have been genetically-engineered. none of their foods (except for the fish flakes, obviously) have dairy or animal derivatives, including gelatin or eggs. even the teabags are not glued, but crimp-sealed.

gotta love that.


the hamburgular.

blake had at least 2 birthday parties at mcdonalds. ages 3 and 4? i am unsure. but not me. i was a lettuce-eating kind of girl. and i am not sure about the popularity of the mcdonalds birthday party for my generation.

i tell my students every day, it seems, to eat food that is food. they think i have some weird obsession with corn, which to them means i want to eat it all the time. they eat junk food for most daytime meals, as shown in the wrappers filling the student lounge. i especially remind them about places like mcdonalds and taco bell, which seem to be the worst culprits in serving non-food food. if the food from a certain place continually makes one's stomach hurt, it makes sense to stop eating it. but, the kids are from another generation--the one of iphones, dvr, and instant gratification. they've never had to wait for anything.

and today, i saw this post. a 12-year old hamburger! and it looks the same as the new one!
please, kids, don't eat the mcdonalds. it's obviously not food.


damn splenda.

bad news day for splenda. apparently, it "contributes to obesity, destroys 'good' intestinal bacteria and prevents prescription drugs from being absorbed," says the new york times.

the research was done by the sugar lobbyists. so there's that.

i would rather eat sugar any day. preferably organic. not bleached.
it's best to eat things that occur in nature. overall. really.

an apple a day.

and, yes, i got a new computer. my first apple. it's lovely and pretty and so much faster than the old one.

i still want to write about all the things in this post, but as days go by, there are more foods and issues of which to talk.

so, we'll see. are there certain things you want me to write about? do you know the grossly awesome dish that is frito pie? let me know.

fake meat.

i am not a fan of fake meat. you know, that "meat" that vegetarians often eat, that's not real, that many pretend tastes real.

well, after my new roommate, elizabeth, and i cleaned and re-organized the entire kitchen, we ate sandwiches made of some sort of fake barbeque meat on hotdog buns. we felt as though we had to eat something from the almost-overflowing freezer. i keep thinking that they might have been wonder bread brand, but that just seems shocking. why would there be wonder bread in a house that has a co-op shopper? so many questions.

anyhow, the fake meat. i don't know its brand, and i would probably choose not to injest it again, but it tasted like meat. at least the horomone-full, not organic meat of my youth. it was probably textured vegetable protein, but i am not sure. maybe they were these? it's all just wrong.

this food was not food.

the home of botched elections.

i went to florida for the weekend. i realize that sounds really jet-set, but my grandparents were celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary. that's a long time. i mean, really long.

blake and i spent a lot of time in the backseat of a car, reliving the road trips of our youth, wishing we'd had a digital camera as kids, for we apparently really enjoy taking pictures of ourselves. even while blowing bubbles. or attempting.
we ate ridiculous amounts of bagels and had dinner plans at the "late" hour of 630pm. our hotel breakfast was surely not meant for photographs, but the camera has produced shockingly flattering pictures that i have to share.

this is blake's breakfast. an omelet made just for him, topped with salsa, and served with potatoes. oh, and bacon. people love bacon.

and mine. also, potatoes. and a bagel, though not so good. i am positive that it came from a freezer. you would think the bagels would be more exciting, with all those new yorkers that relocated south. and an omelet: spinach, cheddar, and mushrooms. canned mushrooms, the kind you get on delivered pizza from a chain. it looks better than it tasted.

i am not a professional omelet-maker, but these were not really omelets, but almost-scrambled eggs. i was wishing for eggs of weekends past. thank god florida has a beach; the one we visited was lovely. also, most of family was there. that was awesome too. the best part.


hurricane ike.

so, my parents are dealing with a hurricane. they've lost electricity and phone lines and are probably pretty happy they boarded the windows. in terms of food, my mother promises me that they have, in no particular order: peanut butter, pasta, bread, cake, bottled water, and flank steak. i kept telling my mother to buy canned beans, but i don't think they really eat beans anyhow.they have a propane grill, as do many texans, so that they can cook even without the electricity. i've been thinking a lot about what food i would get to prepare for an emergency.

here's what i would want:
chips (potato and corn), canned beans (black and garbanzo), salsa, green apples, beer (obviously), peanut butter and jelly and bread, carrots, pickles, bottled water. i would probably get cans of other things, like tomatoes, vegetarian chili, maybe even potatoes. i would heat water on the grill (if i were in houston and had one) and use my french press to continue to make coffee. maybe some cheese, like cheddar, that i could eat for a few days at least.

as far as i am concerned, chips are the most important item. i am sure i could live on chips alone.



among the other reasons why i can't stand sarah palin, there is this one. really? she's even messing with what we eat?

hey, hermano.

blake makes great mexican food, which is awesome because new york does not do the same. as far as we are concerned, the best things to eat in the morning are breakfast tacos. blake's are a bit like burritos, overfilled and hard to close, but certainly tasty.

the most incredible thing is that a person can make breakfast tacos with just about any random vegetable you have in the fridge, as long as you have some eggs and something spicy. and hopefully cheese, but you could survive without it. you would just be sad.

a short recipe: put some oil or butter in the skillet. cook your onions and other harder veggies first. add spinach and tomatoes. pour in your already-whisked eggs, and cook to scrambley goodness. heat your tortilla (could be in the microwave. boo! or over the range, turning if over and over a flame until hot and not hard). put some salsa and shredded cheese on the tortilla and scoop the egg mixture over it. voila! it's the best.

as we ate our way through the refrigerator, one of our last attempts at cooking while packing was breatfast tacos: spinach, eggs, onion, maybe some tomato. it's hard to remember at this point, but we set the timer on the camera to record the moment for posterity. (we had packed the plates, so we are eating over the sink here.) the pictures aren't pretty, but i know blake is probably crying in austin about no longer being the star of the blog, so this is really for him.

one more, for the kids in the back.

this is the end of the boston adventure: blackberries.

we went on a boat to the harbor islands. we chose spectacle island and georges island, though there are quite a few a person can visit.

georges island isn't that exciting. it's mainly a fort that you can walk in and around, but not much greenery really. we really wanted to go spectacle island. it's called that because it is supposed to resembles spectacles. heh. barely.
what is weird and gross about spectacle island is that it was a landfill. yes, kids, we hiked on a landfill. and what's even more insane, we ate food from there. an island once known for gambling and garbage has blackberries growing all over it.

this was the main reason lindsey wanted to visit, even though she was weirded out by the idea.

but she was an incredible explorer, walking and looking through the thorny brambles for the berries. she was successful. i ate a few but i felt like we were stealing from the insects or birds or whatever animal might typically eat them. lindsey did not have the same worries.

fruit sushi.

in addition, lindsey was dying to go eat fruit sushi. she had written me emails telling me how incredible she thought it would be, and so when i went to visit, we drove to brookline and went to some organic sushi place called genki ya. it was almost 10pm and we were the only ones there, but that's besides the point. (lindsey plans to go every day, i think, so that it remains open.)

what do i mean by fruit sushi?
well, there were so many bizarre and lovely options: with mango, sweet potato, banana, plums, honey. our roll had cream cheese, cucumber, carrot, sweet potato, and banana. other things, too, maybe.

it was delicious. and organic. and inexpensive.

toad in the hole.

i did not grow up eating eggs like this one. i went to boston for labor day weekend. (i drove a prius, by the way. it was incredible. someone should buy me one.) lindsey bought all sorts of fancy foods to feed me for breakfast: good coffee, goat cheese brie, ciabatta rolls.

and eggs. probably cage-free, no horomone. but, that's not the point at this moment.

she made a dish called "toad in the hole." i'd seen her do it before, when we were roommates, but, well, she was always eating dinner foods at breakfast, so i ignored much of her morning ritual. i like breakfast at breakfast. and any other time.

she cuts a hole in the bread, and then toasts it in the skillet a bit. then, she cracks the egg into the hole, and fries it there. in the hole. the toad in the hole. ha.

it was super. lindsey said there were other names, but i want to call it "bee in the bonnet."



i think about writing often, and then i come home and my computer hates the internet, hates i-tunes, hates opening files. so, i am behind. there will be a new computer soon, and an external hard drive, which i actually think is the root of the problem. too many files in the computer. and it's not even close to full! anyways.

here's a short list of things i plan to discuss:
1. fruit sushi.
2. toad in the hole.
3. frozen pineapple drinks.
4. my new kitchen.
5. corn (but i guess that's a given).
6. my brother (also, predictable).
7. blackberries on the landfill.
8. breakfast tacos.
9. food from the bodega.
10. popsicles.
11. lasagna.
12. frito pie.

it seems like a long list. the end of the summer, with the moving and all, was not so good for this blog. i have a backlog (backblog? ha. bob loblaw. ) of photographs and ideas. i just need to get started, and i need my computer to promise not to overheat in the process.

please come back soon.


weird kid.

as a kid, i ate of a couple of things that i probably would not eat today. i don't just mean processed foods; i just mean weird foods. really plain ones, in my case.

1. i loved iceberg lettuce. i couldn't get enough. i thought it was just so awesome. yes.
2. i was a big fan of plain noodles. cooked noodles, with nothing on them. sometimes, with salt, but mainly plain.

ok, so that's all i think of right now. the other night, i cooked way too much spaghetti and didn't have enough sauce for it. so, i put the pasta in a tupperware and put it in the fridge.

we all know where this is going. i ate the noodles today. i was weird kid; that's all i have to say.

new eggs.

i thought i invented new eggs. but blake just thinks that is crazy. but, i could, i could create new eggs. i think.

i am pretty sure there's a name for this process. i melted some butter in a pan and cracked two eggs in it, added some kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. i prefer my eggs fried, but i knew i couldn't flip two of them without making a mess. i put the lid on the top of the skillet! yes, they sort of poached on top and fried on the bottom. yum. (i also think that this is the type of eggs that my friend lindsey likes, for which she created her own name.)

i sauteed some spinach with some mushrooms to accompany the eggs. and, as i am lacking in more creative options, i ate the meal with some corn chips. it was actually quite a tasty dinner.

with jelly.

so, i am moving. to brooklyn, which is a big move as far as i'm concerned. i want to eat as many of my perishable goods as i can, so that i don't waste them, or have to move them.

totally, i made vanilla ice cream more exciting by adding a dollop of bonne maman apricot jelly, a shake of fancy cinnamon, and a bit of cool whip. yes, cool whip. i said it. we have some in our freezer from a dinner party earlier this summer. and it's made of nothing a person should eat, but just as tasty as i remember.

it was delicious.


soda soda soda

soda without high-fructose corn syrup. yes, i know it sounds insane, but it's true. boylan sodas are made with sugar cane. and real vanilla. they are super delicious. why can't all soda be like this? because i love it. 

in addition, the star of my blog, little brother blake, also loves them. unfortunately, he's moving back to texas so there will be few posts about him in the future. 

corn phone.

yes, there's corn in a phone. thank you, samsung. i am not sure about how environmentally friendly it will truly be, but it's partially made from corn. like everything in america.



exciting news in milk. well, all dairy.

monsanto apparently wants to sell off its dairy hormone business because consumers no longer want hormones in the their milk. apparently, there has been so much media around the potential harmful nature of the hormone (to the cows, and to the humans that consume the cows) that monsanto wants to sell off its business and concentrate on other things. there is little proof in the effects, but cows taking it produce about an extra gallon of milk per day.

whoa. that's a lot of milk. and, do we need to be drinking bovine somatotropin? probably not.


supermarket sweep.

it seems as though the supermarkets are catching up; they've realized the importance of local food, or at least those mentioned in the nytimes today. people want food that's grown nearby, and, of course, food that is affordable. with rising fuel costs, it is becoming less efficient to import food from other countries, as well as the other side of this one. even wal-mart is getting in on the goods; with the $400 million it plans to spend this year on local produce, it will be the largest player in the market (of course).

the article also suggests an "emotional connection with local," making it sound like we need to go to therapy with our tomatoes. local food just makes sense, right? why would we export our homegrown apples to import other ones? it's just not logical. not that the us agricultural policy is entirely logical.



when he goes to a diner, blake likes to eat jelly out of the packet with a fork. he's been doing it since he was a child. there's no real explanation for why he only does this only in diners, or why with a fork. he really likes strawberry. today, he ate one packet as an appetizer and one as a dessert.

i am under the impression that it is some sort of secret behavior. i imagine that many people have secret eating habits that they don't allow to come out in the open. we'll see if i ever tell you mine. 

i scream, you scream

i love ice cream, especially in the summer.  i've spent the last 2 summers using my hand-crank ice cream machine to make some pretty tasty treats: organic mint, lemon-ginger, double chocolate, peach. it's quite easy, and few ingredients are needed: milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla... but i've been a bit lazier this year. 

our dessert the other night was a kid's dream: sweet vanilla with m&ms. simple, yet perfect. 



it's the serrano peppers from mexico, in case you were wondering.

this fall, all "country of origin" will be labeled on food. as consumers, we know very little about our food. npr did this excellent story on shitake mushrooms and the inability to trace them, find it here. i actually podcast "npr: food." it's quite lovely and informative.


still in love.

with avocados.
even though the fda put you on the "bad" list, i still love you.


this is why i'm hot.

it's freakishly hot in my apartment. it's "can't sleep, can't eat, can't do anything" hot. 

i made a cool, spa-like drink to try to cool me off. i blended a handful of green grapes, israeli cucumber, and mint with a squeeze of lime, as well as half a blender of ice and water. it was a little chunky, so blend it a lot or put the mixture through a sieve. i poured half a glass of this mixture and added sparkling water and lemon. tasty and refreshing. 

but i am still hot. it's a sauna in here. 


and, now, the morning news.

1. tomatoes are off the "salmonella list." peppers have yet to have been cleared, but eat the tomatoes, kids! did anyone stop eating them? i didn't. i wouldn't survive. also, the fda has yet to clear tomatoes for the fall; they are truly unsure of what is happening.
2. the cost of corn is skyrocketing so much that farmers who use corn for feed can no longer afford it. businesses are closing. today, the nytimes did a story on the catfish farmers in particular. here's an excerpt:

Corn and soybeans have nearly tripled in price in the last two years, for many reasons: harvest shortfalls, increasing demand by the Asian middle class, government mandates for corn to produce ethanol and, most recently, the flooding in the Midwest.This is creating a bonanza for corn and soybean farmers but is wreaking havoc on consumers, who are seeing price spikes in the grocery store and in restaurants. Hog and chicken producers as well as cattle ranchers, all of whom depend on grain for feed, are being severely squeezed.

Perhaps nowhere has the rise in crop prices caused more convulsions than in the Mississippi Delta, the hub of the nation’s catfish industry. This is a hard-luck, poverty-plagued region, and raising catfish in artificial ponds was one of the few mainstays.

Then the economics went awry. Feed is now more than half the total cost of raising catfish, compared with a third of the cost of beef and pork production, according to a Mississippi State analysis. That makes catfish more vulnerable. But if the commodities continue to rocket up — and some analysts believe they will — other industries will fall victim as well. Keith King, the president of Dillard & Company, calculates that for every dollar the company spends raising its fish, it gets back only 75 cents when they go to market.

3. lunch bunch. i have been making lunch for kim and myself all week. tasty sandwiches of provolone, tomatoes, and cucumbers, zesty pasta salad, handfuls of cashews and grapes, homemade brownies. that's just the beginning. there are other goodies to be had from the farmers market, like apricots. yep. anyhow, i didn't make lunch today; i like to treat myself to a burrito each friday. whoohoo!
4. my camera battery is on its way back from canon, so soon there will be photographs of my food adventures again. i know you can't wait.


mayonnaise fruit.

i think most people either love or hate mayonnaise. i love it.

my mother makes a fruit salad with mayonnaise. i know it sounds weird, but i remembered its existence the other night and so i had to indulge. you just cut up fruit and then mix in some mayonnaise (not too much, just enough to make it creamy) and some sugar (yes, real sugar). let it sit a moment. eat.

my mother uses apples, pears, canned mandarin oranges, strawberries, bananas, and raisins. i, apparently, had very few of the original ingredients, so i used nectarines, kiwis, plums, strawberries, raisins, and currants. 

again, i know it sounds weird. it is weird. but tasty. 


it continues.

the largest foodborne outbreak in a decade. 

jalapeno and serrano peppers are now on the "do not eat because you might get salmonella" list. really, they are unsure about the serranos, but alluded to the fact that people cannot tell them apart from jalapenos. oh, and cilantro. the fda obviously has no idea what is happening, but apparently, 25-40 people have reported illnesses each day, bringing the total number to over 1000. the fda is looking for farms that were growing tomatoes, and then switched to peppers. 

i guess they are looking for a salsa farm. 


cobbler cobble hill

my camera is misbehaving. well, not the camera itself. it's either the battery or the battery charger. so no new photographs for the moment. poo.

anyhow, i made peach-blueberry cobbler for july 4th at natalka's new house. (she actually lives in an old school!) i had never made cobbler before so i placed a lot of trust in the recipe of the may 2008 cooking light. it asked for blackberries, but they were too expensive so i used blueberries. it was so easy and tasty. find the recipe here.

i also made lemon-ginger frozen yogurt. i made ice cream for natalka's birthday last year and never got to give it to her. i used a new recipe, this one from the may 2008 bon appetit. we're all magazines today. it was light and fresh, sort of like pinkberry but better, and homemade. i don't understand the fanaticism around pinkberry; it's just yogurt. expensive yogurt.

by the way, i love cooking light magazine. it's so good. it never asks me to use weird processed ingredients, or anything out of season. the recipes are tasty, and there are lots of vegetarian ones.

what cooking or food magazines do y'all use? any?


blake's quesadillas.

blake seems to think that, because i take pictures of the food i make and write about it, his creations deserve to be on the blog as well. i am not so sure about that idea, but i promised him many moons ago that i would blog about his tasty quesadillas.

the thing is, i don't even know how he makes them. they are that one thing that blake always makes, and i never do (i have made them before, but with no regularity). i know he pan-cooks the inside vegetables, probably in safflower oil, and heats the tortillas somehow. he puts the shredded cheese (monterey jack? cheddar? no clue.) on one tortilla and then places the other one on top.

i think this is a sign that blake needs to write in and explain. this was actually a kodak moment; these were delicious. as courtney's mom, judy, would say, "incroyable!

p.s. that's spanish rice in the middle.


on the way to maracas bay

on the way to maracas bay, there is a look-out point that sells all sorts of local treats. our favorite was mango with chutney. it's in the second jar from the left. we just couldn't get enough, a perfect blend of sweet and savory.

these treats were super sugary, with lots of coconut. kind of make your teeth hurt.

oh, and this guy serenaded us. he was definitely part of the look-out experience.


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