Monday, October 25, 2010


So everyone I hang out with now is frighteningly un wasteful (Steve got rid of his trash can. You are not allowed to throw things away in his apartment. He saves plastic bags, cuts them up, and stuffs pillows with them).

I am not that far, but I am wicked virtuous about not wasting food. It is too delicious.

We begin with broccoli stems (and a few old mushrooms).


I was trying to recapture an awesome curry I ate at Sunflower this summer. They used Japanese curry which tastes… better. Somehow. Well not better, but different, in a way that is complementary to broccoli.

So I used my curry powder I stole from my dad which he got in Hong Kong, figuring Hong Kong was closer to Japan than India is (liking my logic?)

Also it has “whacky” (or wah kee) in its name, so there’s that.


Gave the veggies a sautee in peanut oil with ginger and garlic, tossed in some water and let them steam, took out the brothiness and mixed it with a bit of corn starch to make a sauce, and put it on top of a wee bit of brown rice.

So good!


Next up: vair old and brown bananas.


Vair ugly.

But I forget how ugly they are because I remember all the goodness they bring to my life in the form of OATS!

I’ve taken to making a big batch of oats for the week and then reheating individual bowls in the morning to save time but still have a flavor vastly preferable to microwave oats (ew.)

How it’s did:

1. Chunk up bananas and toss them in a medium heated pot. They won’t caramelize, as would a single banana, but they form this awesome fluffy sugary… thing.


2. Add oats and liquid to your liking (I added 2 cups each of oats, milk, and water). Cook until it’s hot and sort of burping (it’s too thick to really bubble!) but don’t cook til the liquid is absorbed, since one it is unnecessary and two it can result in burnage.

Once you’ve gotten to the burpy stage and the oats are starting to stick to the bottom, turn off the stove!


3. Wait.

Like magic, the oats will absorb the liquid and the oatmeal will become beautifully thick. As an added bonus, it will be cooler, so you can put it in individual tupperwares and be less skeeved out about the hot plastic giving you cancer (just me?)


Next thing to use up: old basil!

Made pesto. OBVIOUSLY.

Flavah. Garlic, hunk of parm, and roasted walnuts (cheaper than pine nuts and, in my opinion, deliciouser).


Grind to grittiness!


Then the actual basil, or as my people call it, Vasilikos! (βασιλικός) The royal herb.

Grindedy grind.


Stream in olive oil, adjust for seasoning (more cheese and nuts, OBVI) and there you have it.

Into the freezer for a taste of summer when it’s February and gross and I want to kill myself.


More green: one really cannot buy a small quantity of kale. They don’t seem to exist.

Here’s about half of the farmer’s market stash (for two dollah!)


The obvious choice, just to make it smaller, was soup. Virtuous: taking prehomemade stock out of the freezer! As far as I know they are both chicken… I think the one on the bottom my mom didn’t have white wine (which she usually adds to her stock) and just… tossed in some red!


For the oomph factor? Some farmer’s market sausage!


I read this:


And think this:

mrs featherbottom

(Please, please, love Arrested Development and the short-lived but glorious character of Mrs. Featherbottom as much as I do)

The result:


This is a recipe-ish, not a recipe, but a brief synopsis:

Over medium heat, I browned two pork sausages cut into bite-sized chunks, then set the sausages aside. In their fat, I cooked up one small onion, chopped.

Then I added my stock (3 cups or so?) and brought it to a boil. Then I added my kale (half a bunch?) and a generous amount of salt and pepper. At this point I realized my kale was massive and I’d have to reduce its size. Thus, a bunch of boiling water from my kettle dumped on top (enough to cover the kale- this took a LOT, and basically filled my Dutch oven).

Then I just cooked the kale. For a long time. Probably 45 minutes. Then I returned my sausages. And some brown rice (why not?). And I cooked it for another long time. Probably another 45 minutes. This part probably wasn’t necessary, but yknow, Erin sent me a dramatic text message and obvi we had to talk about it.

The ensuing soup was sooooooooooooo beautifully flavored and sooooooooooo tender. Slow cooking is the way to go. Hurray for Sundays!


A final note: this was the day following the day I accidentally walked 11.6 miles and kayaked for an hour. I ate way, WAY more than in this blog. These were the things that involved *preparation*, rather than the things that involved *going to coffee hour at church and inhaling a donut* prior to the wholesome curry you see.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

lazy yet active

So we had to work Saturday morning, I had no Friday night plans, and Erin invited me for a sleepover.

No brainer!

When I am a guest, I tend to bring food. So I scanned my fridge and decided to go Indian. I hauled over half a head of cabbage, a bag o’ lentils, and my mobile pantry:


We all have our jobs for one year. If you are only living in an apartment for one year (as the rest of the gang is) you do not bother investing in garam masala. Ah, the perks of living at home.

So Indian food was made (and kind of ugly and I was super tired so I didn’t bother taking a picture!)

Friday night. After a long week of work. More awaiting the following morning.  3 people. 3 bottles of wine.


No no I jest. We only drank one (well though honestly this was because it turns out the others were Caroline’s and she was out of town and it seemed sad to go to CVS for wine).

But we did go to CVS for JUNK FOOD!


Along with gummies and hot fries (necessary), our junk food selection included Indian cashew candy (luscious), dried seaweed crisps (why not!), and mixed nuts (protein!).

There was ice cream (vanilla and cookies and creme).


There were maraschino cherries which I adored as a child but man guys they are DISGUSTING! Hahahah. We all ate one out of the jar and were kind of in awe of how our taste buds had matured (just like us, clearly, *ahem*)


And then like one hour of Office watching and Jenga playing had passed and so Steve was obviously  hungry again. So he tried to make a grilled cheese.

The first time was not entirely successful, due to the distracting allure of Michael and Dwight’s shenanigans.


But then he made another one and it was ex.quisite. Guys, I need to start frying more things in butter. Because when you fry things in butter, they are delicious.

He was all “You are going to eat a third of  this” and I was like “Nooooooooooo, I am gestating a food baby and cannot eat anything else ever!”

And then it was there all cheesy and beautiful and crispy and I ate at least- AT LEAST- a third of it.

I love unhealthy food. It makes me so happy.

PLUS I woke up EARLY with NO ALARM Saturday morning filled with goodness and well being. That is clearly what late night fatty food does for the body.

I scampered down the walking trail near my friend’s apartment for a solid hour and fifteen (I also gathered sticks for our Saturday program for the little kids- I made a lesson plan with a magic theme and we made magic wands, so cute!)

I returned to Erin’s and enjoyed breakfast in front of the lovely foliage outside her window.


My breakfast was delicious! Not wanting to eat other peoples’ breakfast food (speaking for myself, I have a fear of running out of breakfast food and would never want to jeopardize someone else’s breakfast supplies) I brought my own overnight oats in a tupperware. The usual mix with a wee bit of blackberry yogurt, some bananer, milk, oats, chia seeds, and walnuts.

And I “borrowed” some of Caroline’s Dunkin Donuts hazelnut coffee. Duuuuuuuuunkies your coffee is so gooooooooooood!


Work was relatively painless and then I was COERCED into going kayaking.

Okay well not really but kind of but here’s the thing: I am someone who stresses over logistics and they were unfortunate such as dealing with parking to get to a place somewhere near the water in Georgetown and it was cheaper to get two doubles but there were three of us and who wants to be along in a kayak? that would suck! and yadda yadda yadda but Erin and Steve abducted me and then it was DELIGHTFUL.

Here we are on the river:


But wait, you say. Who took that picture? Some kind of friendly otter?

No (unfortunately).

No, instead, we (and by “we” I mean Steve and Erin and not me) decided that the obvious thing to do would be to wander through Georgetown til “we” saw someone alone and ask them to go kayaking with us.

Which is how poor Michael, a COMPLETE STRANGER, ended up, alone and helpless, in a boat with Erin.

But man kayaking is so fun! Well I mean Steve kept splashing water on me and trying to get us stranded in the mud on the side of the river. But man, we saw ducks! We went under the Key Bridge! We sang songs! Singing American Pie sitting in a river is FUN!

Then we decided to head in the direction of the monuments where my li’l Sony managed to get a right nice picture:


Then Erin left for a date (obviously).

And Steve and I walked back to Georgetown. And perhaps it would be fair to say it was a more… scenic route. It was… interesting. There were points when maybe there were more lanes of traffic to cross… without a crosswalk… than would’ve been advisable.

And it took… awhile.

But we made it, and promptly COLLAPSED at the delightful establishment that is Georgetown Wing Co. (a sports bar) upstairs, where we sat, and Crepe Amour downstairs, from whence we ordered our food.

Libations (do I even have to say which is whose? PBR? Really? Do I have to say?) 


So when you have spent basically the entire day exercising, your body is sort of keen to metabolize the first thing you put into it.

When the first thing you put into it is an alcoholic beverage, you may notice that you become rather giddy in a rather brief period of time.


There was also entertainment:


Love Jeopardy. As far as I’m concerned, that should be the *sports* in *sports bar*. However, this ended and they put on some kind of… baseball game?

Like I cared.



The Bachan, with spiced potatoes, green peas, crispy noodles, cilantro sauce, and tamarind chutney (it tasted like the inside of a samosa, mmmmmmm).


And the Madagascar, with kiwi and mango.

The Bachan tasted like the inside of a samosa. You kept biting into cumin seeds. It was AWESOME! The Madegascar was a bit more boring.

Anyway, I was pleased with these shots (and then Steve was like “Hey! Do you see the world through food blogger picture images! Cause when I used to climb rocks I used to see buildings as a series of cravasses to climb up!” And I said “No, no. I am actually very bad at taking pictures).

DSC01324 DSC01325

There are also all these slightly blurry pictures on my camera that I seem to’ve found amusing when my body was having its blood alcohol content spree on one glass of wine. I will spare you.

A final note that I did all this jaunting around the fair city in Erin’s flip flops (I was told you must wear sandals for kayaking, and I hadn’t brought any for our little sleepover. So I borrowed Erin’s).

Erin is about two shoe sizes smaller than me.


Actually, the day was fitness ridiculousness.

So… the morning walk, according to MapMyFitness, was 4.3 miles.

The walk from Rosslyn to Georgetown, then going around the monuments, was 7.3 miles.

And… yknow… I went kayaking for an hour and fifteen minutes an hour as far as paying for kayak rental was concerned (thank you, kind boat center people!)

Apparently… I got a lot of exercise on Saturday?!

Which is why I have been EATING MY BRAINS OUT today :D

Friday, October 22, 2010

fond farewells

Frankly, a lot of these pictures are super old. So if the items seem dated (for example, the sweet corn and okra are no more, *sob*), that is why. However, the point of the post remains the same, which is that it makes me so, so, so happy how much of what I’ve been eating lately has been fresh, local produce.

Everyone should get to eat like this!

Here’s been what my countertop has looked like the past few weeks:




Let’s talk easy, produce-packed meals.

We had gorrrrrrgeous green beans. MASSIVE green beans. Which I was initially apprehensive about but no siree Bob no toughness or lack of flavor here. They were oh so sweet and wonderful.


The lunchtime salad:


Arugula, walnuts, green beans. Egg on the side for protein. Lemon juice and olive oil thrown on at the last minute.

Rounded out with coffee yogurt <3 <3 <3


The lunch bowls:


My mama’s quinoa salad with golden raisins and garbanzos. SO good! Paired with cuc slices.


Along with a bowl of yogurt (promise it’s there), apples ‘n cinnamon.


See? Yogurt! Actually, local, scrumptious farmer’s market yogurt :D


The family dinner:

Taco fixins!


Cooked up minced red pepper and onion in oil. Added chopped okra, beans, and corn. SO sweet and delicious!

The eating-alone-but-still-classy meal:


Small red potatoes with chimichurri (this was a DELICIOUS combination!)


Arugula ‘n green bean salad with poached egg on top.


Poach Pal has changed my life. I now ALWAYS have perfectly flowing yolk. Yet still I admire it so.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

working girl

Please tell me other people love that movie?

working girl

I am all about young Harrison Ford. And deliciously awful peak of the ‘80s hairdos and fashion.

Moving on.

My job is many things. I’m a member of Americorps but in practicality I am an employee of a nonprofit, and nonprofits are a hot mess because they’re perpetually broke and reliant on donations and human kindness and the like.

Human kindness is abundant, but it means we currently have roughly 100 bananas.

Let me explain.

We were a designee in a charity 8K over the weekend. As a bonus, we got to take home leftover food that was available to carbo-loading runners at the starting gun. That food including—see where we’re going now?—ludicrously vast quantities of bananas. And now they’re there. In need of using.

Fortunately (apparently?!) I have 5 loaf pans?!


And actually I also have miniature ones at home but I only used large ones or kids would be like “WAH THAT GROUP GOT A BIGGER THING OF BANANA BREAD” because children are obNOXious.

Soooooooooo are we figuring out what we did? Ileana led CHILDREN MAKE THEIR OWN DELICIOUS BANANA BREAD! I cleverly divvied up roles (I preassembled ingredients but kids were “banana mashers”, “dry and wet ingredient combiners”, “bowl scrapers”, etc. etc.) and my awesome children made The. Best. Banana. Bread. (My awesome family recipe which can be found in Favorite Recipes).

It was a good, albeit chaotic, day. We used 18 bananas. Many remain.

My job actually involves a good amount of cooking, because food enthusiast that I am, I offered to be in charge of food and what that entails- processing our weekly food bank delivery, filling out reports, and planning and making a daily snack (and “snack” is more of an early dinner).

The food bank is great, but ingredients can be… challenging. I think of it like Iron Chef, only… different. My personal triumph definitely was dealing with a MASSIVE delivery of green beans- old, seriously speckled green beans. Soooo I had to deal with both the fact that a food item was 1. Unattractive and perhaps even more dangerously 2. A vegetable!

Enter the stir fry. “Hey guys, snack today is Chinese food!” “YAAAAAAAY!”

Frozen hamburger patties made for meat (I don’t even want to talk about how much fat they rendered as they browned and I broke them up). The green beans’ spots were cleverly disguised with copious amounts of soy sauce. And, I swear, the kids are hot sauce freaks. Let them put hot sauce on it- lots of it- and they’ll eat anything.

And then it must’ve been on my mind when I made dinner tonight!


Though my green beans were fresh and local and didn’t need as much disguising. Plus, yknow, I like eating vegetables.

We had some old Chinesey salad dressing sitting in our fridge for months and I brought home my “Waste not want not!” work spirit and it became marinade. In went, instead of mystery meat, 3/4 of a block of tofu, which marinated all day and soaked up the flavors nicely.

I want a wok but I have a crap electric stove and a dearth of kitchen space so I make do with my cast iron skillet, which does conduct heat marvelously (tip: use peanut oil for stir fries! Higher smoking point!).

Threw garlic ‘n green beans into my screamin’ hot oil.


Stir fry action shotttttttttttttttttt. Taken with my non-dominant left hand. No, not actually very good.


Scootched those over and threw in my ‘fu.


Then that needed some sweetness (the dressing was pretty acidic) so I threw in some hoisin sauce, a really wonderful kitchen shortcut.

And some Sriracha cause just… duh.

And there it was, gorgey porgey.


On some brown rice (it is a pain to make brown rice when I get home after 7 every night but I have learned the hard way that I am capable of eating cup upon cup of white rice without gaining any satiety whatsoever. Vair tragic).


Another work thing: current Favorite Sandwich (always important when packing a lunch).


This is fantastic:


I use a whole wheat Sandwich Thin cause it’s what I got at the Entenmann’s discount bakery and is currently in my freezer. Use whatever but thinner is good.

In it: peanut butter, thinly sliced apple, and cinnamon.


I typically round it out with fruit and veg.


And snag an expired but still tasty yogurt at work (ahh, food bank swag).