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Archive for September, 2008

Worked the farmers’ market again with much success — but this time for cash instead of produce. So, no insane amounts of tomatoes this week, which is a convenient but much less tasty thing.

A friend of mine has an insane apple tree in her front yard and we’ve had a few apple-preserving sessions. We made some applesauce and crisps and pies, and I still have a few left over.

This picture was taken after washing, before our last pie-making session. I don’t have quite that many left right now, but I still have a giant bowl full of them. I’ll probably make applesauce with them, as I’m running out of space in the freezer that’s not really mine.

When I got back from the market dead tired this afternoon — my alarm failed to go off which resulted in me being “late” at, oh, 6:45 in the morning — I was hungry (another result of rushing out the door). I’ve got lots of squash to make and a few other things, but I wanted something simple and tasty. My UCSC CSA cookbook came to the rescue! I just purchased their other cookbook yesterday at the plant sale (I own one already and loved it so much I decided I needed its older sibling). In the first few pages of the cookbook is a recipe for “Quick Sauteed Apples,” which was just the ticket this afternoon.

I didn’t make this up myself, but the recipe is so simple I feel okay about re-posting it here. I mean, really, you just take some apples, core them and slice them up about 1/4″ thick. I left skins on for added nutritional value. Heat some butter or margarine in a pan (I used Earth Balance which is an incredible vegan alternative to butter), and add some brown sugar. Again, I used two small-ish apples, so I added 1 Tbsp each of margarine and sugar. Toss in the apples and saute over medium-ish heat for 5-10 minutes. Add some cinnamon at the end, and your kitchen smells divine.

I’d say it made enough for 1-3 people, depending on how much you like apples. I ate them as is and they were mighty tasty — kind of like apple pie but without, you know, the pie part. I bet they’d taste great with some oatmeal (real, steel-cut oatmeal, that is), and the cookbook recommends them over some ice cream. An incredibly satisfying breakfast.

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Noro Striped Scarf

Knitting content! As promised.

I recently completed a striped Noro scarf (brought to my attention in brooklyntweed’s blog), made out of a total of four skeins of Noro Silk Garden. I’ve always loved Noro colors, and this scarf didn’t let me down.

I was so happy to get a sunny day so I could get a decent shot of the delicious Noro colors! I love how the Morning Glory colors pick up on my favorite parts of the scarf. Colorways were two of the purple-ish color, one of the green-ish color, and one multi + brown color. (Sorry. Ballbands be damned.)

My favorite section:

I love patterns that let the beauty of Noro colors shine through and do their thing — I found myself questioning murky sections but kept going, and I think they let the brighter sections shine.

Yarn: Noro Silk Garden, 4 skeins
Gauge: Something squishy, on size 7 needles
Modifications: Nah. Straightforward and lovely.

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A few days ago I attempted to make my way through my plethora of tomatoes by making a roasted tomato soup. I’m happy to report it was a success.

Evidence (and timeline) follows:

(Sorry for the blurriness — it’s not easy to take an oven picture!) About twenty minutes after this shot, the house started to smell incredible. It only got better… but there was still much waiting to be had! Notice the great color of the onions I had from the farm stand…

Three hours later, the tomatoes were roasted and squishy:

From there, they went into the food processor with some stale bread, with some veggie broth added and came out looking like… well…

I was so excited to eat the soup that I didn’t document the post-process state. I do, however, have this to show how much was left after four people attacked the soup:

It was tasty, to say the least. The goodness of dry-farmed, organic, seasonal tomatoes cannot be overstated. I had some of what was left on pasta. My mouth is watering just thinking about it…

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I worked my first farmers’ market this weekend, helping out at the booth of a local organic farm known for their incredible dry-farmed tomatoes. It was great to give out samples (essentially enticing customers in, because apparently I am, as my co-worker put it, “more attractive than the two of them”) and see people’s reactions. I saw a lot of, “Oh, tomatoes, cool, okay… [insert taste here] Oh, wow. Those are really good. Honey you have to try some of these…”

What makes these tomatoes special is the way that they’re grown. They’re cultivated in soil that has a lot of clay, and this allows it to retain a lot of water. The tomatoes are never (or very infrequently) irrigated — so their water is drawn up from what’s already stored in the soil, bringing up a lot of minerals in the process. And voila — incredible tomato-y flavor. I don’t even like tomatoes that much and I love these guys!

Since it was my first shift, I was paid in produce. A pretty good deal if you ask me. I came back with three giant Italian torpedo onions, three purple bell peppers, a bunch of green beans, two heads of cabbage… and about 12 pounds of these incredible tomatoes. Now, however, I face the dilemma of dealing with said tomatoes.

Witness:

I decided to make a tomato-heavy soup that would also utilize the onions I received: this recipe from Alexandra Cooks (a blog I read regularly for food inspiration). It smells delicious only twenty minutes in… but look how many tomatoes I still have left:

If nothing else, I’ll be drying them, but I’ll probably be eating lots of caprese and trying this as well (tomato pesto pie… sign me up!). I guess this really will be the summer I learn to love tomatoes…

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I’m of the opinion that it’s important to give you, my reader, some kind of history (or genealogy, if you will) of why I’m vegetarian.

I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 13 years old. It started from a pretty typical adolescent headspace, centering around coming into an awareness that eating meat meant actually eating another critter. So, at 13, I decided to become vegetarian, largely out of a desire not to eat animals, but with a vague idea that it was “good for the environment.” I stayed vegetarian through my adolescence, which really meant just not eating anything that has meat in it. You know, potato chips, sometimes a veggie burrito or a quesadilla, everything but the meat at dinner, and lots of fake bacon (yum).

Sometime around my junior year of high school, I became aware of the complexities of the meat industrial system, and how simply cutting out meat didn’t necessarily mean I was saving the animals I hoped to spare with my diet. Turns out that purchasing and consuming dairy and eggs frequently contributes to the problematic relationship humans have with the food they eat — from the mistreatment of animals to the money still going towards the meat industry. I decided at that point that going vegan would do more to resist the eating structures I found problematic. At this point, my diet became a political stance.

As a vegan, sometimes I’d do really well and cook incredible food for myself. I learned to eat a lot of foods that varied from the standard fare I was raised on (rice, chicken, broccoli) and really broadened my dietary horizons. Somewhere in college I found myself with not enough hours in the day, and had a difficult time staying well-nourished. I was tired a lot and found I had issues keeping my blood sugar stable — I would be super irritable and feel faint not long after eating a meal. I decided to supplement my diet with some dairy and eggs and see how that felt. At some point, this became the healthiest way for me to eat and I “came out” as a lapsed vegan.

Post-college, I took it upon myself to heal my relationship with food. College left me in a state where I was eating mostly pre-packaged, frozen, or processed foods. My partner pointed out that I ate a lot of fake meat, but not much else. It was totally true! I started really focusing on what I ate. It took a whole year and a lot of taste adjustment to get to a healthy eating place — moving towards a more organic, whole foods, local diet, and being really conscientious not just of what I eat but where my food comes from.

At this point in my life, I feel really good about what I eat and calling myself a vegetarian. I think I finally enjoy eating food that is good for me, and I’m at a place where I can be conscientious about where that food comes from. I’ve come to the belief that food is such a huge part of our lives and deserves more credit and time that it gets. Plus, I’ve discovered that nectarines are really, really tasty…

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