May 23, 2013 § Leave a Comment
As silly or insignificant as the description may sound, Wednesdays have become my favorite day of the week for the simplest of reasons. After work I hurry home, hoping to find a spot close to the house. I park, grab my things and hurry over to the CSA drop off point to collect my overflowing bag of produce. Once home, I pour it out, excited as it’s like gold to me. Will you look at those strawberries? I couldn’t help but grab one, run it under water for less than a second, and toss it back…followed by another and another after that. I hold up each item deciding fridge versus counter after deciding what to pull for the evening meal.
The library is open late today so after organizing everything (or sometimes before pick-up all together) I head over to pick up my reserved books and music. I walk home, appreciating the bright sun and the welcome breeze.
This week I had a pound of ground lamb in the fridge and decided on a quick kofte dish using the fresh oregano I received alongside potatoes, carrots, beets and broccoli quickly boiled and tossed in fresh sage and butter. I tore apart the red leaf lettuce and made a quick salad…as we dug in, I realized I’m a little relaxed when it comes to the washing department as I felt the sandy earth between my teeth. Does anyone have a trick for quick and easy cleaning of very earthy veggies? Does this exist?
A little peek at my after work to-dos… it’s my favorite night of the week. Who knew something so simple could make me so content?
May 22, 2013 § Leave a Comment
A Spring Morning
Your right hand and my left
Hand, as if they were bodies
Fitting together, face each other
As if we were dancing. But
We are in bed. The thumb of your
hand touches my cheek. My head
feels the cool of the pillow.
Your profile, eye and ear and lip
Asleep, has already gone
through the doorway of your dream.
The round-faced clock ticks on,
On the shelf in dawnlight.
May 21, 2013 § Leave a Comment
This time of year the oven turns off and I’m forced to restrict myself to quick stove top cooking so I don’t overheat.
Oftentimes this means a lot of stir-fry meals and those that are centered around what vegetables and grains I have in the house and what type of meat I happen to grab at the farmer’s market.
I’ve tried to meal plan, I really have, but I like the freedom to just create something out of what I have. This obviously carries some risks but for the most part, there is always something that can be thrown together when you have a well-stocked pantry and fresh vegetables. While the techniques are repetitive there is always something unique about the dish and that makes for a perfect centerpiece for conversation and a pleasant meal.
Approximate measurements of sauce ingredients:
- ¼ c. soy sauce
- 1-2 T Worcester sauce
- 1 T molasses
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 t lime juice
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- ½ T organic cornstarch
- 1 T olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb grass-fed stir fry beef (strips)
- 4 cups mixed seasonal vegetables (*Note: lately I’ve been making this stir fry on Wednesdays when we get our CSA and I have tons of options to choose from. A mixture of potatoes, greens, radishes and asparagus is particularly seasonal and filling.
- ½ c. water (or mixture of water and white wine).
Place beef in a bowl and pour about half the sauce over top. Mix, cover, and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, prep your vegetables and whisk cornstarch into remaining sauce.
In a large sauté pan with a lid, heat 1T olive oil over medium and sauté garlic. Add beef in batches, cooking quickly and flipping, careful not to crowd or overcook. Place beef on a plate, and add vegetables and ¼ c liquid, scraping up brown bits. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until vegetables are cooked through (adding more water if necessary). Add beef back and top with reserved sauce, mixing to combine. Serve hot.
May 17, 2013 § 2 Comments
This is a really special company- one that I feel good about supporting and confident about eating their product.
We spotted a small stand at our farmer’s market on opening day…Otolith a company providing the highest quality seafood and supporting environmental sustainability in the seafood industry. From their website: “Otolith is a company where customers can ask hard questions about mercury, PCB’s stock assessment levels, harvest techniques and more. In order to increase access to sustainable seafood, Otolith has created a Community Supported Seafood [CSS] Program that allows consumers wholesale price access to the finest fish available.”
I felt a mixture of intrigue and shyness as I didn’t know half the fish types. So I walked up and asked- What’s rockfish? What’s the difference between the salmons? What I was met with was a wealth of knowledge of anything and everything fish- from the sources to the qualities of the different types to thawing and preparation methods. He didn’t make me feel like a fool, or try to make me feel that the most expensive product was the only one that would do. All of them are solid and special in their own ways.
We splurged on the first purchase, a King salmon center cut filet. And truth be told, I was a bit skeptical that it would be worth the price and of course made my feeling known. L insisted… Boy, was I wrong and boy, was it delicious. It was so rich, fatty, and really quite different from even the best salmon I’ve purchased from the store. It’s a treat to be sure but one I can’t wait to give into again.
I kept it simple to pay tribute to this special product. A quick coating in Italian olive oil and freshly ground pepper and sea salt followed by a 10-15 minute bake in a 375 degree F oven, careful not to let it overcook. To go alongside I made a pretty mixture of all of my CSA vegetables: spring potatoes, carrots, radishes, and fresh peas. I blanched them all first before coating them in a simple white wine (perfect Sauvignon Blanc from Chile) and butter sauce and letting them sit on the back burner. I placed the first atop the vegetables and the meal was simple, filling and perfect for the first of many hot late spring days we’ll have.
Otolith Sustainable Seafood vendors can be found here.
May 14, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Life lately has been beautiful in so many ways and focused on the people in my life who make it so. It was that balance that made me feel so alive and like I am doing something right for now. I realized more so that the things that are important, those I prioritize and encourage, may not mimic the items of others…and this is refreshing, and absolutely more than OK. We spend so much time comparing ourselves to others and changing accordingly, when you know what? Staying true to ourselves makes us pretty damn interesting and happy to be us.
I’m happiest when I feel fulfilled in my relationships with myself, others, and the community. This weekend allowed for just that.
It started with my friend, E, including me in an incredible mother-daughter book club program she created for her students and their mothers. I assisted her as much as I could, the program being led entirely in Spanish, and honestly was just so happy to be there and witness the community she was able to build in little over an hour.
I arrived home in the early afternoon to gather together some snacks and drinks for our friends from out of town. We soaked up as much sun as the sky was going to give as we caught up and they excitedly talked about their upcoming wedding and their new house. Rain fell as we walked to a neighborhood restaurant and squeezed into a table into the corner, poured some wine and indulged in amazing Mediterranean food.
The Sunday morning farmer’s market was so alive this week. We have finally found farm we love that we buy our beef, eggs and butter from. This week we splurged on incredible, “sushi-grade” salmon…what should I make?
After, we packed up the car and headed southwest to Swarthmore. Oh, what as refreshing sight this place is. We wandered around town, adoring the tree lined streets, ended up back at the campus and stumbling upon this spot
If you, fellow Philadelphia residents, haven’t visited this little town, you must. The town is a short 25 minutes from the city and is such a respite.
And that was it…that and a big dinner of leftover odds and ends and wine while watching a movie at home. And time to allow myself to think and not chase away my thoughts and budding dreams.
It was simple… but so wonderful.