Curried chicken salad

August 31, 2011 § 15 Comments

I know I’ve mentioned that I have a meat CSA (community supported agriculture) in addition to a vegetable CSA before, but I can’t remember if I’ve spoken about it at length.  And it’s been a long day, and I’m too lazy to check the archives, so I’m going to go ahead and make the executive decision to speak about it at length.  In particular, to say: I looooooooooove it!  I love it!  It’s the best!  To be able to get your meat, in a wide assortment of cuts and types, once a month from a farm where you know the animals are being raised sustainably and humanely.  Just thinking about it induces a little sigh of relief.

(Given that I can’t eat legumes, many nuts, or unsprouted whole grains, meat winds up being fairly important in my diet, and before I found my CSA it was quite a struggle.)

Kim, the farmer, is wonderful.  So friendly, gregarious, and accommodating, and completely uncompromising of principles.  They have an open barn once a month so you can come out and “meet your meat,” which is something one really ought to have a chance to do, if one is going to eat meat, and is also a signal, clear as a mountain brook, that they have nothing in their process to hide.  And, did I mention the hen house?  When the chickens aren’t running about in the fields, pecking and scratching for insects, they roost in an old bus, salvaged from a dump.

An old bus!  How wonderful is that image?!  And, even more fascinating, between the solar heat and the heat from the feathery little chicken’s bodies, the bus requires no extra energy inputs to make it a pleasant abode for the birds, even in the winter.  A chicken Hilton, on wheels…with tires that have gone flat.

And everything we get from Kim just tastes so much better than most of the meat you encounter. When someone says, “tastes like chicken” about something, they mean it tastes chewy, bland, generally inoffensive and entirely uninteresting.  But, that’s not what chicken should actually taste like, it turns out.  It should taste like chicken!  (I’m afraid there’s not really a good way to describe it, so you’re going to have to make some inferences from the bold italics.  It’s juicy, nuanced, and I swear you can detect fragrant hints of grass and wildflowers in there – maybe they soak it in while they’re scritching and squabbling about.)

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Tartine with goat cheese and confit tomatoes

August 28, 2011 § 12 Comments

Hoo-wee, we are having some weather out there.  The wind and rain are battering my windows like ill-intentioned thugs trying to get in.  The potted plants and deck furniture have the look of a bunch of cast-aways where they’re clustered, near the entryway, but I think they’re giving me looks of thankfulness – ‘thank you for not leaving us out there!’  And, for perhaps the first time ever, I’m feeling rather glad we don’t have any large trees growing right next to our apartment building.

I’m so thankful that the hurricane had calmed somewhat, into a tropical storm, by the time it came to visit us this far north.  We still have power and water (knock on wood), so I cannot complain one bit.  It’s still nothing to mess with though.  Hunkering is the only word to describe what the city is doing.

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BLC-squared (bacon, lettuce, chevre, and cherries)

July 5, 2011 § 20 Comments

I have a new favorite summertime treat.  And – almost unbelievably – it’s not ice cream!  It’s a sandwich.  It’s an amazing sandwich.

But before I get to that, will you bear with me while I ramble more generally about cherries for a little bit?  Oh good.

I have a list of things that make summer summer.  It’s a list that’s pretty much just inside my head.  Its length is indeterminate and its contents ever shifting.  But, it only shifts around the edges.  There are some core elements that stay the same.

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Indian spiced fish sandwiches

June 7, 2011 § 78 Comments

Shananana, yeah.  Shananana!  For some reason I feel like singing everything right now.  So, just pretend that this has a melody.  I’ve always felt life would be more fun if it were a musical.  Don’t you?

Actually, last week Joel and I went out for ice cream and our scooper (is that what you call the people who scoop your ice cream?) sang “what can I get for you?”  So, we sang our orders back, and he was so excited (apparently no one else was responding to him in song) that he gave us our ice cream for free – after an extended operatic interlude in which we discussed sizes and toppings and I tried to insist on paying.  We got a lot of stares from the other people in the ice cream store.

And, now I’m in a singing mood again.  I’ve been feeling very chipper ever since I did yoga in our backyard yesterday.  Yoga outside appears to be like a happy drug.  Who knew?!

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Mushroom-falafel!

June 1, 2011 § 41 Comments

Mushroom-falafel!  (Yes, the exclamation point is necessary there.)  It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, I’ll admit.  But, what was I supposed to call it?  Mushlafel?  Falafshroom? See? Those are even worse sounding.  But, like the kid with the weird name who is so awesome that by the end of the year all the other kids also want to be named Kermit too, this mushroom-falafel is so fabulous it straight-up owns its name.

I’m a little embarrassed that I get as excited as I do when I make something really good.  But, I do.  I get quite delighted with myself, in fact, and can’t wait to share how delicious said really good thing is.  This dish definitely falls into that category.

It started with a falafel craving.

One of the most unfortunate things about having discovered an intolerance to a sprouting inhibitor enzyme (besides not being able to eat almonds, but I’ll save that complaint for another day) is that I no longer eat falafel because of the chickpeas.  It’s a huge loss because I used to practically live off of falafel.  I was obsessed with the stuff.

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Salmon tacos with avocado-tomatillo salsa

April 26, 2011 § 21 Comments

I never think of Easter as being one of my favorite holidays.  It doesn’t have the twinkle or well-worn, nostalgic set of rituals that some of the other holidays do.  I seem to celebrate it a slightly different way and with different sets of people from year to year.  And yet, every year Easter somehow exceeds expectations.  It bursts out of the gate accompanied by trumpets sounding and banners waving.

Perhaps it’s because we’re giddy with the smell of loamy soil and dewy grass and the promise of new life that suddenly feels eminently believable.  Or maybe that’s the effect of the malted milk ball robin’s eggs I ate along with the eggbake at breakfast (eggbake – totally epic!).  Either way, what I never anticipate as a super exciting event turns into an epic day of full contact Easter egg hunts, awe-inspiring whiffle ball tournaments, old-timey singfake the words-a-long marathons (without a song book it turns out that the only songs that I know the lyrics to are songs I don’t want anyone to know I know the lyrics to – Katy Perry and Phantom of the Opera mash-up anyone?), and creepy lamb shaped cakes. It was a sorry, sorry thing to have to come back to the real world today.  Whatever happened to celebrating Easter Monday?!  I’m going back to Europe.

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Sweet potato and avocado panini

March 10, 2011 § 8 Comments

When we go out to eat, I have a habit of getting sidetracked by certain ingredients while I am perusing the menu.  Wild mushrooms is one, for example, and duck confit.  And bacon is usually on the list, though that depends on my mood.  If a dish contains one of these ingredients I tend to stop at it and read no further.  My decision is made.  Well, unless there are two or more different menu items that each contain one or more of the hallowed pantheon of can’t-pass-ups.  Then I find myself in a state of indecisive paralysis, completely unable to make up my mind, usually asking the server to come to my rescue with advice, and then more often than not rejecting that advice and ordering something else.  (I hope this isn’t too annoying to them!)

Anyway, avocados and roasted sweet potatoes are two more of my choice ingredients.  There’s nothing particularly exotic or hard to make at home about them, but they’re still up at the top of the list because they are so darn wonderful.  I think if I were to be any food, I would be an avocado.  Really.  They seem so jovial with their portly little figures and wrinkly, knobbly skin.  I bet they could tell good jokes.  And they’re all about the message that beauty is not what’s on the surface because underneath that gnarled exterior is a silky smooth nutty delicious interior.  And then, roasted sweet potatoes  are my second favorite food! (After whipped cream, which usually doesn’t appear on dinner menus anyway, and if it does it’s on some weird Finnish beet dish or something else that I’m just not in the mood for.)

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Italian meatball stromboli

February 16, 2011 § 6 Comments

I told you I was going to make a “Stromboli absolutely packed with lots and lots of meat” didn’t I? I am a woman of my word! Not only did I make a meaty Stromboli – an Italian meatball Stromboli, if you are looking for precision – I made it in such quantities that we proceeded to eat said Stromboli for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next 3 days straight. And loved it! Even though it was originally my craving, I actually wouldn’t have served it quite so often (at least, probably not for breakfast – oh wait breakfast was my idea, well anyway) except that before each meal Joel would ask excitedly, “can we have Stromboli again?!” And I wasn’t going to argue. I’m actually a little sad now that it’s gone. I think Stromboli and I bonded over that time – I mean, think about it, you share 9 meals with someonething and how can you not bond by the end of it?

When I determined I was going to make Stromboli, I went about it as I normally would make pizza. After all, I figured, what is Stromboli but a pizza that’s been kind of folded over and wrapped up. (Versus a calzone, which seems to be a smallish pizza folded in half. One of my friends from Japan likes to say “Japan is a folding culture” (though frequently and endearingly it comes out as “fording cultule”), but if you look at Italy’s various treatments of dough and filling, they seem to be right on Japan’s heels. But, that’s neither here nor there.) I made my standard slow-rise pizza dough, which (foreshadowing!) makes enough for two not insubstantial pizzas. I had a butcher shop’s worth of assorted locally raised ground meats, so I decided that I would make a batch of little walnut sized Italian meatballs to fulfill my “packed with lots and lots of meats” requirement, as opposed to tracking down any cured meats that would have been thematically appropriate. However, if you have some good Italian cured meats, you could certainly use those instead. « Read the rest of this entry »

Mediterranean inspired fish tacos

February 10, 2011 § 11 Comments

I know I have a tendency to get really excited about food. I also know I’m not the only one. So friends, prepare to get worked into a tizzy because these fish tacos are worth absolutely every joule of excited energy you could possibly muster and direct at them. Seriously, I feel slightly ridiculous, but I’m downright giddy over them (also rendering me somewhat incoherent, I’m afraid, so bear with me while I gush). And to think, I almost didn’t even make them because I was feeling lazy (horrors!). Now I want to eat them every day!  Well, at least for the next couple of weeks.


Sure, fish tacos, as a general rule, conjure up visions of rickety trucks serving lines of happy sun bleached beach bums whose friends are splashing in the surf in the background, not images of icy snowbanks up to your nose and bleak bare branches against a steel sky. However, these tacos manage to vibrate with bright colorful flavors even while using pretty much all seasonally winter ingredients. They are just so darn fresh tasting! The amazing meyer lemon and green olive salsa is as juicy and zippy as any salsa fresca. The cabbage and fennel slaw, unburdened by mayo, is light and crunchy. And there’s no gummy, oily, deep-fried fish here, just flaky pan seared fish accented with the spicy smokiness of paprika and fragrance of thyme. « Read the rest of this entry »

Curried tuna salad sandwich

February 7, 2011 § 9 Comments

I packed the saddest lunch with me to work last Friday. Well, maybe not the saddest, given that I’ve packed some pretty sad lunches with me in my time. Like the day in college where all I managed to scrounge together was a couple of Tablespoons of peanut butter in a Tupper ware. Or the day of cold leftover rice and a can of tuna mixed with mustard. These are the strange, pathetic things that happen when the refrigerator is virtually empty and I’m going somewhere for the weekend, so I put a moratorium on grocery shopping. Such was the case on Friday when my lunch consisted of a tiny limp dressing-less salad – saved from being entirely irrelevant only by the presence of a few chunks of avocado – and a piece of sprouted grain bread.

I think I was hungrier after I finished eating it than when I began. Then I decided to walk the 5 miles to a meeting I had to go to. It was sunny out for the first time in days and this had convinced me that walking was the best way to get from any given point A to any desired point B, which I think would have actually been true, except that the sun had not taken it upon itself to bother with melting the thick coating of ice on the sidewalks, so I wound up walk-skate-slip-sliding the 5 miles. By the time I reached my destination my stomach was growling loudly and angrily, and for whatever reason, the only thing I could think about was meat Stromboli. I probably would have eaten a stick at that point, but what I really really wanted was a Stromboli absolutely packed with lots and lots of meat. Feeling borderline deranged I rushed into a Whole Foods next door to where I was going, and when I beelined to the deli/cafe section, miraculously, they were serving Italian meatball Stromboli! Saved!  My guardian food angel must have taken pity on me.

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