Making every bite count

30 August 2007

I'm a star.

19 August 2007

Oh, tomatoes. How I love thee...

Woke up early on Saturday, had a lazy breakfast with Fred and ended up at Findlay Market. It's my favorite Saturday morning activity. We were a but rushed, unfortunately, but I picked up these beautiful tomatoes. At left are green zebra and garden peach varieties.
Heirloom tomatoes, with all their unconventional beauty, put supermarket hot-house varieties to shame. The memory of a cold, mealy, watery pink beefsteak tomato quickly fades. The grower let me try a garden peach, and I ate it, like a peach. Sweet, with a yellow color and a lovely peach blush that tells you when they're ripe, these are mild and delectable. The skin in slightly fuzzy, too.
The green zebras are quite good, too. I've had them before, and the first time I tried them I was a bit intimidated. They are striped with lime green and goldenrod, juicy, with a pale green interior.
Best part: These are grown without pesticides!
Then I walked to the next booth, where they had these little darlings:

Tiny salad tomatoes in every shape, size and color, including several yellow pear varieties. So sweet, so rich, like nature's candy.
Tonight for dinner, I made a slightly decadent but terribly simple pasta.
1 package fusilli (this kind is whole wheat and flax, from Trader Joe's)
5 tomatoes (garden peach and green zebra)
handful tiny tomatoes
fresh basil, from the growers who sold me the green zebras
olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
salt, pepper
fresh mozzarella

Cook the pasta. While it's cooking, quarter the large tomatoes. Leave the small ones whole. Chop or tear the basil and cut the cheese. (Stop laughing? Are you 12?)
When the pasta's done, quickly drain it, reserving two tablespoons of pasta water. Immediately toss back into hot pot with basil, tomatoes and cheese. Drizzle with olive oil, add salt and pepper, stir well and put the lid on the pot. Let sit one minute in the pot, then serve. The residual heat warms the tomatoes and softens and starts to melt the cheese.

Oh, so marvelous. Fred and I dined in the living room, silently, to a soundtrack of Madeleine Petroux. It's rare that we don't converse during dinner. But the tomatoes were that good. They required our full attention.
Stop reading this. Go to the nearest farmers market and enjoy the bounty of tomatoes. I've still got about half of them left. Tomorrow night's dinner will be avocado and tomato salad, I think. I've got a ripe alligator pear in there just dying to be used.

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13 August 2007

Gratuitous veggie pic

This freakishly large orb is a pattypan squash. It cost $1 at Findlay Market. I was planning to stuff it, but then Kris and Bri dug in to it whilst drinking the other night. Oh, well. It was pretty while it lasted.

Hodgepodge part deux

More healthful summer veggie-heavy meals:
Roasted portobello mushrooms: a drizzle of balsamic and olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and cracked black pepper. Bake at 400 for 5-7 minutes on each side.

Zucchini is so fresh and full of water that you don't always need olive oil. I sliced it thinly and sauteed it with basil, oregano, a bit of pepper and a roasted orange pepper that I had made the night before.
I doctored a jar of Trader Joe's No Salt Added Marinara. It was really, really bland, so I added an anchovy to some olive oil along with some garlic. (Don't wrinkle that nose! The anchovy melts into the sauce and adds a rich depth to the sauce.) I also added some red wine that was a few days old. The sauce was finished with some fresh oregano from my pots. Oh, so good!
The finished product!

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Hodgepodge of pretty summer produce

I've been busy trying to eat right. I've made quite a few decadent meals and overindulged a few times.
But it's summer, and that means... produce:
Baby asparagus from bigg's in Hyde Park. Fred picked it up, and I tossed it in spaghetti al limone. No cream, just plenty of lemon juice, fresh tomatoes, parmesan cheese and black pepper.

I rarely eat corn. I don't think it's as nutritionally sound as other vegetables, and I don't really like it. But in the summertime, even I can't resist a good ear or two. It didn't really go with it, but Fred and I these two local ears with the baby asparagus pasta.


Life's good when you can walk out your back door and grab a handful of fresh herbs to freshen up your dinner. (That's flat-leaf parsley, oregano and basil, grown by moi.)

Lately, I've been making light pasta dishes for dinner. I'm slightly obsessed with variations on this pasta: whole wheat spaghetti or linguine, with white wine, fresh tomatoes, red pepper flakes, a couple of handfuls of herbs, cracked black pepper and a bit of parmesan cheese or olive oil. It's so light, so delicious, so easy. Add the hot pasta to a pot with the wine, tomatoes and peppers. Cook for about a minute, then toss with the herbs.

Oh, so yummy!

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Best. Boyfriend. Ever.

I went over to Fred's house Sunday night after a long, dull day at work. It was our four-month anniversary. Seriously, this man is amazing.
Out of the blue, he made blueberry cheesecake. (Pardon the pun.) And flowers!

His birthday is tomorrow. We're going to Mecklenberg Gardens. (His birthday, his choice.) I'm pretty darn lucky.

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03 August 2007

I'm a star

Check out today's Morning NetCast at I'm in the last segment, about Korean food.


I'm a bit tired tonight. It was a rough week, and I was a bit under the weather. I think I'm suffering from food allergies. I'm trying to narrow my diet for a while.
Last night I made kimchi fried rice, which is a great way to use up random leftover veggies and grains/rice. I used sang jaeng mi, a mix of grains and beans. (left)
In a cast-iron skillet with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, I sauteed the veggies (kimchi, onion, grated carrot, chopped lettuce and Swiss chard), tofu cubes and rice, let it crisp a bit and added 2 eggs, soy sauce and sesame oil to taste. It's so comforting and delicious. I love fried rice. Our favorite BBQ place in Seoul served fried rice on cast-iron grills. They'd clean the grill after you ate the meat, oil it well and add the veggies: onions, garlic, carrots, kimchi... then the rice, sometimes tuna and lettuce, seaweed (laver) and sesame oil. They'd mound it in the middle, then create a well and add an egg. The egg would coat the rice and veggies, and caramelize the rice on the bottom. With spoons when the time was right, we'd scrape up spoonfuls of the rice, savoring the crispy and creamy bits. Washed down with bamboo soju, ah, a perfect end to a Korean BBQ meal.

Oh, and another picture of my antique store finds: A Depression glass canister that's holding the sang jaeng mi grains. I love the Brass Armadillo!



Purple Podded Peas tagged me in my first meme.
Seven random facts about me
1. I can do the splits. Anyone who's been to one of my birthday parties knows this.
2. I feel guilty when I don't recycle.
3. I love to eat sushi ginger straight from the jar.
4. Some day Sarah Flesher and I are going to take over the world.
5. I'm slightly obsessed with dietary fiber.
6. I'm 26, and I have a 5-year-old sister.
7. I hate the suburbs. Some day I want to live on a small farm in a great small town, grow vegetables and write all day long.

The rules:Each player starts with 7 random facts/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to then report this on their own blog with their 7 random facts as well as these rules. They then need to tag 7 other garden blogs and list their names on their blog. They are also asked to leave a comment for each of the tagged, letting them know they have been tagged and to read the blog.
Seven blogs (not all gardening blogs)
Sarah's yoga blog: She inspires me. When she decides to do something, she follows through. Sarah and I have been friends since childhood.
Purple Podded Peas: I love her blog!
Nourish Me: We think alike... love this newfound blog.
Great Big Veg Challenge: Love this blog. A friend and her husband are missionaries in Mozambique. Disagree with their motives, but love their stories and dedication. I work with this woman. She's hilarious!