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Thursday, September 27, 2012

roasted butternut squash bulgur wheat salad


this week i attended 1.5 concerts:
i saw them, and they blew
my mind.
i also went to see her, but
due to a severe reaction
to the metro
we left during her opening act,
a dj who bore a striking
resemblance to Robert Downy Jr.

i wish i could say i'm sad i missed the show,
but i'm not.
i can say i'm disappointed tho.
i heard she didn't even take the stage until

school night & illness aside,
i'm a stickler for being
On Time.

and as such i present this salad,
a Pile, really,
of csa ingredients mixed
with bulgur wheat,
dressed simply with
olive oil + lemon juice.

just in time for autumn,
quick to put together,
best slowly savored
while you listen to music that is
Present, and
probably Timeless.

in addition to The Carpenter album,
which was on heavy rotation last month,
might i suggest
which is on heavy rotation
Right Now.

butternut squash tabbouleh 3

Roasted Butternut Squash Bulgur Wheat Salad

1 cup of cooked bulgur wheat prepared based on package instructions (no need to soak over night)
1 small butternut squash
olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
small green pepper, diced
salt/pepper to taste

cube up butternut squash (or you can buy it pre-chopped). what i normally do is cut it half and roast in oven for 17-20 minutes at 350F, to soften the meat until easy to cut.

drizzle some olive oil, season with salt/pepper and finish roasting the cubes in oven for another 15 minutes, or until tender.

meanwhile, cook up the bulgur wheat according to package instructions. you can use regular water or if you want to get fancy, use broth/stock.

chop up green pepper (at this point, depending on what you have handy, add whatever vegs you want)

mix everything in a bowl, drizzle olive oil + lemon juice. serve warm or cold.

butternut squash tabbouleh 2

Monday, September 24, 2012

csa pizza with cauliflower crust

cauliflower crusted pizza

you guys. i'm almost in my mid 30s. lest you think this is about me lamenting over it, rest assured, it's not. i'm glad i'm out of my twenties, a time in which i felt was the second coming of my adolescence, even more riddled with self-absorption and doom laden than the first. it was a time full of petulance, laziness, pretentiousness; i was self-indulgent, self-important, self-righteous, even self-loathing, all the countless selfs but not self-confident, the one self that i needed the most.

so now i'm sitting here, reflecting a bit (ok, a lot) about the lessons i've learned on the way to where i am today. here are my top five:

lesson #1: when doing laundry, separate. thankfully dw does that now.
lesson #3: having romantically barren years is ok.
lesson #5: comparing yourself to someone else's best is soul crushing.

and now i feel self-smug cus it seems like i know it all. i don't. i'm still taking lessons, i'm still learning from them, only this time i'm more self-aware to not be an asshole while i'm doing it.

cauliflower crusted pizza 2

this cauliflower crust pizza was a lesson for me: i was skeptical, i may have even scoffed when i first read about it from food loves writing. i have since learned a few things: pizza can now return to my diet, crust does not have to fill you up in such a way that you feel sick after, and trying to flip this crust is a bad idea. what is a good idea tho topping it with fresh, local produce from the csa, like a harvest of all that is good during the season.

CSA Pizza with Cauliflower Crust

the first time i made this, i used brown rice flour which made the crust crisper, whereas the second time almost a cup of almond flour was used and it was chewier, dw thought it was more like a traditional pizza crust. i preferred the first.

460gr ground raw cauliflower flourettes
3/4 cups *some kind of flour, such as brown rice flour, almond flour if you're gluten free or reg. AP is fine
3 eggs
3 TBL nutritional yeast
3 TBL dried italian seasoning

toppings, whatever you want, i used:
soy cheese
sliced green pepper
sliced tomato

pre-heat oven to 450F

pulse cauliflower in a food processor, but don't get crazy, you don't want it to get mushy. aim for small rice kernel consistency.

whisk 3 eggs and mix all the other ingredients of crust together. i'll be honest, the mixture was kinda wet, i added maybe 1/3 cup of extra flour in but it never really formed a ball and i read a variation of this recipe where the blogger was able to flip her dough a few times. yeah, i wasn't able to. it's ok, i'm not a failure and if you can't do it, you're not either.

pour half the mixture on parchment paper. spread it out as thin as you want. it might be messy, but it'll mainly be awesome.

bake crust alone for 15 minutes. take out of oven and top however you want, spreading stuff, dolloping it, or whatever. bake an additional 10 minutes. remove from oven, enjoy.

repeat with remaining crust mixture.

cauliflower crusted pizza 3

this is my contribution for the food matters project, hosted by Gracie of Food Fascination.

Monday, September 17, 2012

peach polenta cake

Peach Polenta Cake

this week i picked up yoga again. i have races looming in the very near future, i have some strengthening to do, but more importantly, i have some stretching to do, because it seems once again i've stretched myself thin. what i find most useful in yoga, other than the lengthening of my limbs and the cobra stance that does wonders for my back, is the breathing. seriously. the very act of consciously breathing is magical to me.

did you know that we don't use up all the oxygen we take in and we hold onto the air longer than is necessary?

for some reason, the advent of autumn every year sets me on edge. my entire body reacts: i break out. i get sinus headaches. i am neither cold or warm, but rather, uncomfortable in both. i sleep in fits. in defense of all this, i usually take up yoga again, to help me remember to take it easy, to be kind, and to breathe.

this cake is like yoga in that the number of steps it requires forces you to take stock of your surroundings, of your available ingredients, of your time. i baked it with fresh peaches, not yet ripe, but tart-sweet. the kitchen was a mess from the previous evening's dinner preparation, but i found a corner on the counter for the mixer. i did each step carefully, painstakingly, breathing in the fresh polenta as it simmered gently on the stove, breathing in the heady perfume of the peaches as i sliced them thinly, and finally, breathing in the cake fresh out of the oven.

Peach Polenta Cake 2

this is my contribution for this week's The Food Matters Project, hosted by Jen of Prairiesummers. the original recipe calls for the use of dried apricots, i chose instead to use fresh fruit, not juicy ripe to keep the integrity of the batter. this is not gluten free, but i don't see why fine almond flour couldn't be used in lieu of the AP flour. i opted to stay close to the recipe because this cake was shared with fellow coworkers who do not follow the GF diet.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

tomato concentrate

Concentrated Tomato Goop

we awoke to a chill in the air today. i huddled under my blanket, having already turned off the alarm, and i languished for 5 minutes more before shuffling out of bed to greet the day. dw loves that bite, the coolness that kisses your face and, if you forget a scarf, the hollow point at the base of your throat. it reminds him of upstate new york, of walking to school without a fall (or winter) jacket on, testing the breeze as he ran the distance sometimes.

for the last two weekends i've been putting as much of summer as i can in a jar. no i was not canning, i was making tomato paste, concentrating as much of june, july and august as i could in one pot, simmering, stirring and coaxing 50oz of tomato + flavorings into a messy glorious goop, the end result of which can only be described as an explosion of sunny days that've passed and are gone for another year. the first batch was not vitamixed into a smooth concoction, and as such has been relegated to 2nd class citizen in the fridge, to be used to smear on cauliflower pizza crusts and such everyday use as we hurl headlong into Autumn. the latest batch, much more refined, smoother and lovingly prepared during a 5 hour stove-top make out session resides in the freezer, destined for hearty stews and soups, the secret wow-factor that Winter dishes require in order to survive the months of December to March.

tomato concentrate

essentially, i took a bunch of tomatoes and reduced it down, similar to what i did to some raspberries back in may when i was preparing nuria's wedding cakes. i followed the guidelines listed here. things to note:

in a bit of olive oil, i caramelized a quarter of a huge onion and a few cloves of garlic, seasoned with a bit of salt + pepper. then i vitamixed the bejesus out of the concoction. i wanted it smooth and velvety.

the first time i used fresh tomatoes and it was a lot, like 3lbs. the second time around i bought the tomatoes already juiced and jarred from my csa stand, about 50oz (2 jars). it made my life so much easier. i vitamixed the tomatoes until it was only liquid.

added both concoctions into a big pot on low heat for about 4+ hours, stirring if i thought about it until it reached paste-like consistency. other than the seasoning of the onions/garlic, that was it.

it reduced down to about a cup. i'm hopeful that this will last me the winter. this is a great way to make use of the over abundance of tomatoes we're experiencing this year.


Monday, September 10, 2012

fresh chickpea cakes

chickpea cakes 2

last week, dw and i started watching Lost. friends, it's freaking me out. i'm glad i'm not watching it in real time, that the hoopla has died and that i'm pretty much spoiler-free. we spent the weekend plowing thru the first season, a midst a few home chores, kitchen duties like tomato paste from the latest csa stash, gluten-free & dairy free chocolate chip cookies, and 12 hour chicken stock, and oh, a paddle board excursion.

a few things that i've thought of:

exactly how big is this island? my perception of how small earth really is is off, because how has this place not been colonized by someone already, or has it?!

there were two polar bears on the island. hold me.

there is no one on the island that is likable, save Hurley, and maybe Sayid, not even the dog is cool.

speaking of Sayid, how is he keeping his jerry curls so perfectly oiled?

anyone else creeped out by brother-sister-not-really-related-so-they-hooked-up peeps?

korean chick has a slammin body.

what is the appeal of Kate that both jack and sawyer sweat her? sure she has great arms, can shoot a gun like a pro and has fabulous hair but she kinda sucks.

kinda like the walking dead, why do they allow a kid wander around alone, when there's obviously a crazy french woman on the loose, specific climate animals on the prowl and mayhem abound.

i know this is a show, i know that i am judging from the safety of my couch, but some of these people are not very bright.


in the meantime, i made chickpea cakes for this week's The Food Matters Project, hosted by Life with the Lushers. in lieu of edamame i used fresh garbonzo beans/chickpeas and served this over a bed of sauteed chard + chive blossoms.

chickpea cakes

Thursday, September 6, 2012

pickled curry cauliflower

pickled curry cauliflower

“You can believe something really hard and still be wrong.” Keeping Faith, by Jodi Picoult

when i was a kid i held a great deal of beliefs in me. i never stepped on a crack, i really did fear it would break my grandmother's back. the thought of lying did not cross my mind because the idea of my pants being on fire distressed me. to this day, sometimes i hold my breath when driving by a cemetery.

it's a personal thing, beliefs, whether it's been proven to be true or not. i was a very literal child. i think that comes from english not being my first language and not understanding the various nuances words can have, by themselves or when they're strung together to form phrases or colloquialisms. dead as a door nail? i believed that door nails (as opposed to other nails...) were actual living things that died. this, along with other things, makes me equal parts bumbling idiot and cautious, not quick to believe just anything.

i have dw now to explain these things, sometimes he'll look up the origin of the phrase, other times he'll make it up and i'll graduate to a new belief. which comes down to trust. i know that dw would never, knowingly, steer me wrong. i don't second guess him, i have faith that what he tells me is true.

pickled curry cauliflower

it's somewhat the same with recipes. we all have our tried & true recipes that we go to -- mothers, grandmothers, well known chefs or food publications. it's with a leery heart sometimes that we might try a new ingredient, or sample a weird dish. it's only from stepping out of our comfort zone that we might grow some confidence, some faith, in the item, the dish, the recipe writer. truthfully, i did not hold much stock to this pickled curry cauliflower, but i remembered that my previous foray in making pickled carrots was from diane and she did not disappoint. it stood to reason that this would come out just fine.

and it did. so. trust in me, make this. keep it handy in your fridge, to nibble on with your dinner, to gift, to remind you to keep the faith.