Sunday, March 20, 2011

green!

Green is my favorite color. It is the color of growing things, springtime renewal, PLANTS! Thus it is only fitting that I celebrate it today, my ****TWO YEAR BLOGIVERSARY****!

I know I am not the frequent poster that I was before, but I like to believe what I have lost in frequency I have (somewhat) made up for by making posts that are a little less “Dear Diary” and a little more food writer. Plus, my picture quality in the early days had nowhere to go but up.

Anyway, I still relish the time I spend (lately, mostly just Sunday afternoons like this), on my couch, putting together pictures into posts, Sheila working diligently beside me.

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Sometimes I (narcissistically?) reread old blog entries I have written, and then it makes me remember delicious meals I have eaten and want to recreate them.

So the other night’s dinner was inspired by one of my favorite co-chefs, who lives in one of my favorite places: I remembered the fish baked in rainbow chard leaves I made with my cousin Rachel in Austin. I had bought some beautiful rainbow (but mostly green) chard at the farmer’s market and was easy to take it out for a spin again.

This was made in a rush on a weeknight and was therefore less sophisticated and also incidentally had less (meaning no) butter… but was still good.

Layer of chard leaves. Then salmon. Salt and pepper, drizzle of olive oil.

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Lemon slicey!

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More chard on top. Aren’t those colors so beautiful? I think rainbow chard is one of the most artistic looking vegetables on earth.

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Foil topper for (I hoped) moisture retention and steamage.

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45 or so minutes later at 350 degrees, it emerged from the oven steamed down considerably (note to self: use WAY MORE CHARD LEAVES next time! I know intellectually that they cook down but they REALLY REALLY COOK DOWN).

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Steaming things inside things makes for such an attractive presentation! Minus the salmon fat, which I sort of scraped off of my piece cause I hear that’s where mercury and other narsty toxins accumulate. True? False?

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Also green: Thursday! Saint Patrick’s Day! Obviously I was compelled to honor my Irish heritage, at least culinarily, because I am one sixteenth. I know people who get frighteningly drunk over a far smaller percentage.

I arrived at Steve’s at lunchtime with the following things:

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For potluck later in the evening, I brought some of my broccoli stem pickles (hereinafter referred to as “brickles”), Cooking Light’s brown Irish soda bread which is intensely delicious but I, in a moment of intense stupidity, misread the recipe of and overcooked by ten minutes, thus making it taste like (slightly dry) plain bread rather than EARTH SHATTERING BUTTERY AWESOMENESS. (I have since made another loaf. It is much better).

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And, for our lunchtime sunshiney picnic in the park, a green salad of farmer’s market jolly green goodness mix that includes mustard greens and I don’t know what else but is luscious; some Mutzu apple, and Trader Joe’s Persian cucumbers which, like everything in Trader Joes’ produce section are nonlocal and excessively packaged, but are quite yummy; and homemade dressing of lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil.

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To round out the meal, Steve contributed brown rice with some nice sauteed trail mix on top. Bizarre, yet not bad at all in taste and highly highly filling. Who knew?

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Following work and a lovely walk in the park with Erin, I headed to Steve’s, where he was making his potluck meal. In separate pans, onions and garlic with SCADS of oil (really the reason Steve’s cooking is so delicious and satisfying is that he is not neurotic, like me, about using more than a teaspoon of oil at a time).

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And a colorful and nutritious variety of frozen (mostly green) vegetables. It really should occur to me to buy frozen okra because it is one of my favorite vegetables and still totally delicious when flash-frozen at its in-season ripest. And its growing season is just too short!

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The resulting dish, with some rice, eggs, and seasonings for good measure, was vair delicious fried rice. Steve is typically not a recipe follower (save that succulent falafel), but there’s a reason: he makes really really awesome rice. If it ain’t broke…

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Carolyn is a lot more passionate about Saint Patrick’s day than any of us, so she chipped in heart-stopping and glorious baked potato soup (Expected? Totally rich and cream-packed. Unexpected? Luscious luscious rosemary. Nom!) as well as an amusing looking cake. The shamrock symbology is pretty obvious. The icing just happened because she had two half-containers. We spent a happy moment together in the kitchen cleaning out the almost-empty jars (She took vanilla, I dispatched the chocolate.)

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We were actually too fully to break into the cake on Thursday, but it constituted most of my dinner on Friday. The ensuing sugar high sent me on a moonlit monument stroll with Steve. So lovely!

Back to potluck, my firsts. Only small plates were clean and available. Thus, many refills.

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The soup, lotsa fried rice, and Erin’s green salad with edamame, tomato, olives, avocado, and other goodies. Had already snacked on a lot of pickles. Mostly rejected my own bread: everyone else said it was fine but I knew I could do better. My greatest kitchen competitor is myself.

Finally, some sweet green: our awesome supervisor Katie, following a planning meeting which causes me anxiety when I think too much about it, brought some bizarrely delicious mochi ice cream. Say what?!

I was all over the green tea flavor.

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Fascinating. Starchy chewy mochi goodness on the outside, cold, rich, green tea ice cream on the inside. The coldness is a bit unexpected… my fellow Americorpse Joslynn had a pretty hilarious brain freeze.

I enjoyed. Though have always thought green tea ice cream tastes sort of like grass.

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A final green story: our cactuses have been getting it on. This cactus now has its original red blossom… and a PURPLE one from the next guy over. Naughty, naughty!

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Beautiful beautiful growing things. A final green hope for this (increasingly) length blogiversary post: could spring really be here?

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10 comments:

J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) said...

Haha, I reread some of my older posts, too! I love reminding myself of what was tasty and how awesome I cooked something. :)

Jess@atasteofconfidence said...

Congrats on two years!

Tessa @ Amazing Asset said...

Hi, thank you for checking out my blog :)
Wow, two years?! Very impressive! Your site looks awesome and I am looking forward to trying some of your recipes!

Katie ♥ said...

Mochi is so good!!!!! I have not had that in forever, there was a japanese place we used to go to al the time that gave you that for free at the end of your meal! I swear we went to that place just because of the free mochi ; ) Happy 2 year blog anny!!!

lesley lifting life said...

Happy blog anniversary!! :)

I love the idea of the fish baked in chard leaves ... looks like it would taste amazing!

Hope you've had a great weekend!!

Jess said...

HAPPY blog anniversary!!

That fish-wrapped meal looks delicious!!e

Rebecca said...

happy blogaversary!!! two years goes by quickly!

Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather said...

Congrats on your 2 years! How time flies :)

Tamara Marnell said...

According to the federal government, mercury concentrates in the muscle tissue of the fish, so you can't just cook it out. However, there are other fat soluble contaminants that you may be getting rid of (http://www.usgs.gov/themes/factsheet/146-00/)

Christina said...

I have seen salmon like 5x in the blog world today. It looks so gooooood! I guess I need to eat some tonight! :) And btw, beets turning your pee pink - it's called beeturia and only affects like 15% of people. I'm going to blog about it tomorrow. haha. :)