Tuesday, October 31, 2006

CSA crop share 24

Sisters are the best :) I did the pick up (check out Tricia's ghost - spooky!) and Brookie did the splitting (and took the photos of the goods).

Is that a pizza box hiding behind those veggies... ;)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I bet you guessed this is how things have been...

I had Chex Party Mix and a sugar-free Redbull for dinner tonight.

Please, send help.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

CSA crop share 23

Hey! Where is the photograph of the CSA board? You know, the one that records the quatities?

Hm, maybe my SISTER would know. I'll check :)

Edit: Here it is!


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Smashed potatoes + kale

Don't you hate when you've talked a dish up? Maybe you mention it early in the day, kind of arbitrarily, perhaps prompted by an image in a newspaper or in a commercial; something like, "Oooh, wouldn't that be good?"

All intentions were that the person to whom you were speaking would say, "Oh, yeah... yum," to which you could get some points by saying half assed-ly (yes, it's a word. I looked it up. Not really.) mentioning that you had a bunch of potatoes at home and that you could make them as soon as we got home, knowing full well that it'd be hours before you actually got home, and chances were that by the time that happened, he would forgot about it? Did that ever happen? Except that it kind of stuck? And, two and four and five hours later, you were still talking about it?

Yeah. That was me and mashed potatoes and Jason today. I can't even remember where Jase and I saw the potatoes, but it was early. All day we talked about them.

Dood. We left the bar so that I could go home and make them.

Seriously. Look:

That's boiled and smashed Blooming Glen red and white potatoes; mixed with chopped and sauteed BG leeks, thyme, cilantro and sage our own rosemary; a bit of veggie broth and butternut squash soup (again, it's what was in the fridge), salt and pepper. To the left is steamed purple kale. My dish is served with hot sauce, Jason's had horseradish sauce.

I don't know if it's just because I'm from Rhode Island or what. But me and kale? We get along when it's just the three of us: me, kale and vinegar. Yeah, man. Chop it, steam it for a few (four? five?) minutes, spill a few drops of vinegar on it and serve it with some starchy goodness. Perfect.

By the way. The hot sauce? I heart the Louisiana bred Crystal hot sauce for its flavor. It's not the hottest sauce, but it's the sauciest, if you know what I mean. Nothing against Cholula's mind you, but the only reason why we have it on tap, is because Crystal is still suffering from Hurricane Katrina. It's been produced in New Orleans since 1928, and is determined to stay there. They've had to identify a new location, as their pre-Katrina one was destroyed, and have plans to re-open any minute. If you have a moment, would you send some good hot-sauce loving vibes to the company and it's families? I know it's just one company in one city, but dang... trust me when I say that the whole world will be a much better place when this particular one is back up and running :)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sexxxy Focaccia

Bow chica bow wow...

It's been far too long...

I need some focaccia porn up in here...

Aw yeah.

Jenn came over the other night to work on our window project (it's a work in progress, just like me), and we needed a snack to sustain us through the creative process. I had picked up a "blank" focaccia from Bakers on Broad earlier that day and when I did, the owner Linda went into the back (read: her house) and cut off a slab of some maytag blue cheese she got from a friend. I paired the bread and cheese with apples from Del Val , leeks from Blooming Glen and rosemary from our garden.

I preheated the oven and sliced up the cheese, apples and leeks. I use some the green parts of leeks too; it seems unfortunate to toss the lovely greens into the compost. I lightly sauteed the leeks and apples (maybe five minutes), adding a dash of black pepper.

After lightly oiling the bread crust, I layered cheese first, then apples, then leeks, and sprinkled rosemary on top. I baked it for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees.

So sexxxy.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

CSA crop share 21

Jase took the camera to go look at a used pellet stove after work. That means I went to pick up the share without the camera. So, here's what I've been able to recall from my memory:

1 bok choy
2 onions (I think we were supposed to only get one, but when Avery and I went through our respective halves, we each grabbed one)
1/2 pound sweet peppers
1 celeriac (celery root) (we grabbed an extra from the sharing table)
1 winter squash
3/4 pound swiss chard and/or collards and/or kale (we chose kale and swiss chard)
2 pounds sweet and/or red potatoes
3 leeks
1 pint strawberries (yes! strawberries! still!) (pick your own)
1 bunch thyme (pick your own)
1 bunch oregano (pick your own)
1 bunch basil
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch dill

And, here is the awful photograph we took late tonight. After football practice, after dinner, after finishing homework. Not very pretty photos this week, but still:

Check out the celery root, yoh:

Monday, October 09, 2006

Dinner for one

Left on my own for dinner a little while ago, I had the above. Baked Blooming Glen sweet potato with a smear of Earth Balance, short grain brown rice cooked in a mixture of veggie broth and butternut squash soup (hey, it's what was in the fridge), and Nanny's Green Tomato Relish (scroll down) made with Blooming Glen onion, green tomatoes and red and green peppers. So pretty, so nutritionally balanced, local, organic and veg*n. Yup, that's me.


Honestly, usually when left to my own devices at meal times, I chase pieces of chocolate from the fridge with red boxed wine in front of the computer. Then I feel bad about my poor nutritional choices, put the wine down, remove myself from the interweb, walk back to the kitchen and tell myself that I'll heat up some leftover stir fry.

Once the refrigerator door is opened again though, the chocolate jumps back into my mouth as I grab some type of spreadable or dip-able or melt-able object (hummus, salsa, cheese) and make my way over to the pantry for crackers or hardtack or bread or blue corn tortilla chips. Then, I head over to the counter near the sink and eat out of the containers for a minute or two. Packing everything back up, I usually realize that I need a little sweet to finish off that salt, so I grab a big spoonful of ice cream (no bowl needed) to eat on my way back to my wine and computer.

I don't know what came over me on this particular night, but I actually made a decent meal and SAT AT THE TABLE WITH UTENSILS to eat it. I still drank my boxed wine, though. And, I maybe had a piece of chocolate, too. Hey, let's not get crazy here :)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Montgomery Theater date night

Being the clever and wonderful and sweet girlfriend that I am, I naturally gave Jason an equally clever and wonderful and sweet gift for his birthday last year. I would like to note that the gift is even extra super special because his birthday is on 31 December. As in, NEW YEARS EVE. Had I known this before I fell in love with him (I should have requested a thorough inspection), I would have made him change it. But, whatever. We're here now, AREN'T WE?

So anyway. This year, I bought a season subscription to our local playhouse, the Montgomery Theater in Souderton. This, in and of itself, is an awesome gift. I've said it before and I'll say it again: The theater just rocks. The building is gorgeous, the staff is dedicated and passionate, the programs are inclusive, the shows seem to be handpicked and parts singularly crafted for the actors that play them, it has a perfect, central location and every seat in the house is good. It's a great, local establishment.

For Jason's birthday, I bought the season subscription, but made it sweeter by actually picking the dates out on the calendar, and creating five Date Night packages. Each package is really a bottle of wine (Pinot Noir, Red Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon) that has a handmade tag listing the date, time and show tied around top, a certificate good for a dinner (homemade or at a restaurant, his pick), and a description of the play from the theater's program.

See, it's the birthday gift that gives all year. And, it's insanely caring and thoughtful. I know, I know, I'm just good like that.

[Please, don't mind that nagging thought in your head. The one that's saying something like, "Heeey... wait a minute. Mikaela's the one who likes the theater so much...she's going to the plays, too...hrmmm." I am selfless and goddess-like. I did it for Jason. It's all for him!]

We've enjoyed three shows so far: Psychopathia Sexualis, The Drawer Boy, and Butterflies are Free, We went to our fourth show, The Last Five Years (by Jason Robert Brown), over the weekend. Jason's dinner choice was sushi from Kira and the wine was Ravenswood Red Zinfandel.

After dinner, we walked to the theater. Luckily we got there a little early and had time to visit the Sharon Moore Gallery across the street. Sharon just moved her gallery from a crowded store front on Broad Street, to this newly renovated, high-ceiling space in one of Souderton's famous old cigar factories. You must visit!

I purposefully don't read the descriptions of the plays. A fun effect of this, is that there's always something that surprises me. Like The Drawer Boy is a drawer, like with markers and pens, not like, his parents couldn't afford and didn't have the room for a crib, so he slept in the dresser drawer as an infant. It was an honest misunderstanding, people! One can imagine my surprise - In my mind, I had built a gritty story about a down-on-their-luck, young couple living in Brooklyn, who had a baby, but no money and little space in their one room apartment.

The Last Five years, was surprising as well, but not quite in the same way. I knew it was a love story (by seeing the logo), and was surprised when it turned out to be un-sappy, and rather brave. And also when I realized it was a musical. I'm not a big fan of musicals. It was hard for me not to groan and tell myself that we could leave at intermission. Which, of course, we didn't. Because the play was fantastic.

The format was brilliant for this story of unfortunate timing and missed opportunities for understanding. The woman's point of view (Jessica Edwards) starts in the present and works back to the couple's first meeting, while the man's (Michael Philip O'Brien) begins at their first meeting and progresses to the present. The couple's stories intersect only at the mid-point of their relationship, the wedding.

Date Four was definitely a winner :) Our next and final date is The Desk Set and a bottle of Barefoot Reserves Pinot Noir (our favorite). Stay tuned - or better yet, go see the show!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Veg*n Lasagna even Garfield would love!

Oh, yumminess comfort food :)

Veg*n Lasagna
Serves 12!

olive oil
1 chopped onion
3 cloves chopped garlic (we always use more)
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 cups chopped fresh seasonal (local) vegetables
1 jar or can of tomato paste
1 jar of tomato sauce (homemade if you got it!)
1 - 2 cups TVP, depending on how thick you you like your sauce
2 boxes of organic whole wheat lasagna noodles (I used Hodgson Mill's)
2 containers of extra firm tofu, pressed and drained
1 - 2 handfuls of chopped fresh garden herbs (this time, I used basil, chives, cilantro, rosemary)
2 packages of shredded veggie cheese (mozzarella and/or cheddar)

Chop and saute onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil, until onions are translucent and soft. Add veggies and stir fry/steam until soft (about 10 minutes). Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste and TVP. Lightly simmer, covered, about 10 to 30 minutes, adding water as needed.

Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. I usually cook them about 3 or 4 minutes less than the box instructions so they they hold up better while baking.

Combine tofu with fresh herbs, one package of shredded cheese and salt and pepper to taste. I use my hands to smoosh everything together. I suppose you could use a food processor, but that'll just leave you with more dishes to wash :) Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place a layer of noodles in the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish, add one-third of the sauce, another layer of noodles, then half of the cheese mixture. Repeat. Finish with a layer of noodles and sauce on top.

Here, you can either refrigerate or freeze for future use (or for giving to the neighbors who just had a baby/surgery/breakdown), or bake it for immediate consumption :)

Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Uncover, spread remaining package of shredded cheese on top of lasagna and bake until melted (5 to 10 minutes).

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

CSA crop share 20

Adorable turnips? You bet!

Herbs! Thyme, cilantro, oregano, dill.

Winter squash, I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with you.

Purple! Kale, beets, basil.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

One big happy veg*n family!

Jeff asked about the term veg*n used in this blog. At the risk of sounding naive and/or having tomatoes (organically and locally produced, of course) thrown at me and/or committing an herbivore faux pas, I've decided to answer him. As opposed to avoid the question with a vague, non-confrontational answer and a quick, "Oh, look! Is that a peanut butter chocolate bomb over there?!" Not that I've ever done anything like that before, of course.

In my writing, veg*n is used to mean vegetarian or vegan. So why don't I just say "vegan" or "vegetarian?" Because, while vegetarian is pretty easy to define, vegan gets a little tough sometimes. There are fundamental similarities in all types of veganism, such as no dairy and no eggs, upon everyone agrees; however, there are many, many, many tenuous variations to what a vegan diet is to an individual. It is because of these varying definitions, that I hesitate in labeling anything “vegan.” What can I say, I have an irrational fear of offending people :)

Of course, I'm not saying that I agree that someone can be a vegan, but still eat cheese. Just as one can't claim to be a vegetarian, but still eat fish. What I am saying, is that beyond the no cheese, no eggs, no casein, no brand new leather Barcalounger, things get a little fuzzy.

I know vegans that strictly adhere to an organic diet, as the use of pesticides and insecticides does not reconcile with their definition of vegan. There are others that will not buy new products made from leather and suede, but will pick up a pair of secondhand leather boots at the thrift or from their neighbor's trash. Gasoline comes from fossil fuels, which come from dead animals. Additionally, the process by which oil is retrieved is quite disturbing, if not deadly, to animals' habitats; so driving a car may not be the vegan thing to do for some people.

Personally, I struggle with the organic argument, and that's where I find safety in labeling dishes as veg*n. Pesticides and insecticides not only kill bugs, but also leak into the waters and grounds on which an even greater variety of living things (people too, even!) depend for their lives.

As far as I’m concerned, none of these vegan definitions are wrong. If you're making some kind of effort to eliminate some kind of unjustness from your plate or from your closet, then rock on. Compassionate and conscientious consuming on any level is never wrong. Besides, we all know that the old “that’s not vegan because _____” could go back and forth for a long time, and could get pretty tedious, time consuming and technical, right? “Hey, the french toast isn’t vegan because on my walk to the bakery to buy the bread, I bet I stepped on and killed some bugs.” Ugh. No thanks :)

I’ve been a vegetarian/sometimes vegan (I like the term veggiesaurus) for 17 years, which has given me many opportunities to learn and meet all kinds of veg*ns, very few of which had the exact same ideals as another. Simply, I prefer to use the term veg*n because I feel it is inclusive of all the wonderful and crazy veggie, animal, environment and health loving brothers and sisters out there. It really is better if we stick together, don’t you think?

Clearly, this is my opinion and mine alone. What's that they say, "Opinions are like... nostrils: Everyone's got 'em" ;)

I love hearing what others have to say, and lucky for that, veg*ns are a lively bunch: