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Everything posted by dividend

  1. dividend


    I read this thread yesterday, and realized 2 things" 1. I've been mispelling Sriracha forever. 2. Homemade mac & cheese + Sriracha. Why did I not try this before now? Wow. I weep to think of how many pans of mac & cheese I've consumed at an uneccassarily lower level of deliciousness.
  2. Yeah spring! Going to the Fair Share Farm CSA sign-up meeting on Sunday, so yes, happy dance here! It's almost warm enough to treck down to the cabin at the Lake of the Ozarks, and HW 7 is a treasure trove of tiny garden stands. A couple of years ago, I had my first introduction to morels this way. Driving with my parents, we passed a family selling paper bags of morels out of the back of their truck. Dad immediately made a u-turn to buy some. Mom asked him why in the world mushrooms were worth $10/lb, and he said, "Just wait." Later, sitting on the deck looking at the lake, sun soaked, cocktailed, and content, we shared a plate of sliced morels fried in butter, he told us stories of mushroom hunting as a young adult, and she forgot she had asked why.
  3. I don't see anything in the bill about the organic certifications. That's already a strict, government run certification system, right? It could be that if this legislation passes, an organic certification would be sufficient to meet the new standards outlined, yes? I read read the text of the bill with some concern about how this will effect very small farmers like my CSA farmers. I can't imagine what the regulatory agency would think of us picking the produce with our bare hands and washing it in a bathtub full of water before distributing it by packing it into the back of our cars, and setting it out in a member's garage for pickup. I mean, there's no way that counts as ensuring that 100% of the microbes on it are destroyed. I wonder if our membership contracts fullfill 'traceability' requirements. Most of the text of the bill is too broad to be able to know how it would impact the specific situations that we care passionately about. The rest is peppered with enough links to other codes and definitions as to be impenetrable. And the gist of the bill, that we need to ensure our food supply is safe, is a strong message. Maybe we should be worried, especially since the husband of this bill's sponsor counts agriculture giant Monsanto among his research consulting clients. Probably just a coincidence, right?
  4. I have an ex exactly like this, only instead of frozen meals, it's McDonald's and Burger King, same exact breakfast and lunch, every. single. day. His mother was a terrible cook, and she shared his viewpoint on the desire for a meal replacement pill. He also told me recently that he and his new girlfriend "don't like the taste of expensive food."
  5. Oh my gosh, thanks for answering my question about sealing liquids with a picture! I'm totally going to try that with my next batch of soup!
  6. I'm coming back to this thread to say that I needed this kind of support and advice even more than I thought I would. Four weeks ago, I broke my wrist (in a freak snowboarding accident ), and that has severely limited my ability to cook at all. Rather than panic, beat myself up, and feel like a failure who can't feed myself, I simplified, compromised, and solicited help. My cast makes it impossible (or painful) to lift pots and skillets, chop or cut things, open jars and cans, etc. So we've still been eating at home, and packing lunches, but I've let my expectations be different. Frozen pizza is ok, so is pre portioned yogurt, bought with fruit already added, or granola bars as a reasonably healthy snack. Lunches have been easy to assemble - simple sandwiches, chips/pretzels, easy fruit like grapes - but assembled from high quality ingredients that I feel good about eating. We've been heating up alot of stuff out of the freezer and just steaming a veg to round it out. I've learned to say, hey, I don't feel like putting dinner together, lets go out, and at least attempt to not then spend an hour fretting over re-figuring the meal plan. Not worth it. I've become ok with letting myself buy lunch out at work if I want to, even if it is fast food or a food court, because it's easy and I need a break. I've been teaching the boyfriend how to cook. He's made red curry 3 times, he learned to cook over easy eggs, and tonight he's making us waffles because breakfast for dinner is awesome. For this purpose, I bought Bisquick. And that's ok. He's been doing all the dishes because I can't. My mom brought a batch of Italian soup and a tuna noodle casserole (complete with cream of mushroom soup and Velveeta) the first week, and it was a totally luxurious feeling knowing that dinner was taken care of. I get my cast off in two weeks. I will have finished my online semester (with the help of an ergonomic keyboard). I will have made it through five weeks of basically being unable to do any complicated cooking, having eaten reasonably well, and mostly at home. I hope I won't have to break another bone to keep future stress in prospective, and to know that giving myself a break isn't a bad thing.
  7. dividend

    Gnocchi sauce?

    Let's talk about this! I love vanilla in savory applications.
  8. Is that a joke? Why would anyone else's financial state impact where I eat? That's truly kind of an apalling concept. I really can't wrap my brain around it. If you can afford it, enjoy it with gusto. Let others do the same at whatever level THEY can afford, and never let someone make you feel bad because you can do things they can't.
  9. This asian slaw is a truly awesome recipe! I've made it twice this year, the first time as a side dish, and the second time as a main dish salad, marinating chicken in some of the dressing, then grilling it and serving it warm over the slaw. The dressing is seriously delicious. I plan to try it on other things, like cold noodles, but cabbage is so easy, and so cheap. I'm not fiddly, so I normally just sort of eyeball the dressing amounts. I warm my peanut butter so it mixes easier. And I think the slaw ingredients are pretty flexible, although I wouldn't leave out the green onions, or the cilantro - they give this such a bright, fresh taste. This recipe is definately going in my regular rotation.
  10. Just thought I'd add some actual numbers, because I keep retarded records about financial stuff. According to my old spreadsheet, in 2004, my average weekly grocery spending was $106. I was feeding my college "family" (BF and a pair of brother who were his best friends). That was dinner almost every night, breakfast, and most lunches for me and 3 college boys. Now, it's $100 a week for just me and the BF (not the same BF ). Granted, in some ways that apples and oranges, because I used to cook simpler food that relied more on packaged jump-starts like cream of mushroom soup or Suddenly Salad, and now I'm more focused on quality ingredients. But it's still 2 people versus 4. Sorry for the little derail. In this economy, I'm doing without mindless convenience eating out. Why spend the money when I've got food at home? Only sometimes is this a sad deprivation though. Sometimes you just really want something quick to eat that you don't have to prepare yourself. But the last time my carpool buddy swung through the McDonald's drive-through, he paid $8 for a 'chicken selects' value meal. No thanks.
  11. Can you link to it? I'm google retarded right now. This is a great idea. I'm definitely going to do this. Thumbnail recipes? I love both of these things but very rarely make them because I tend to only grocery shop once a week and thus don't ever have fresh clams.
  12. You guys are great. I feel like I've gotten a group hug from people who understand something about me that seems baffling hard for people to relate to sometimes. It seems like I've heard a few too many times from people who care about me - don't worry about cooking, just pick something up for dinner, you've got too many other things to stress about. The response is - it's not stressful, my life would be worse if I didn't make the time for this. But their words stick in my head sometimes approaching dinner, chip away a little at my enjoyment of the process, reinforce my guilt at cooking when I should be doing something more productive. Today I had errand to run after work, and so was late getting home, hungry, cranky. I was buoyed a little by this thread, and instead of giving in and picking something up, I came home, defrosted a few slices of homemade pizza, crisped them on my pizza stone, and had pizza and a salad with poached eggs for dinner. Felt like a good compromise, and the process of something even that simple drove away some of the stress of the day. I love some of the specific ideas, like cooking main proteins on the weekend (that's appealing as oppose to straight up reheating), or soliciting a little more help with prep and cleanup.
  13. The other night, the BF and I were talking about how busy we've been lately. Working has me away from home 11 hours a day with my long commute, I just started back to school fulltime (online, which helps a little), and he's starting to have 70-80 hour workweeks because of cutbacks and layoffs at his office. He commented, "It seems like you've been spending a lot of time in the kitchen." When he suggested that I could cut food related time, I almost cried. I don't cook for both of us because I feel obligated to cook for him. I'm trying to feed us the way I fed myself when I lived alone, because I love the process, and because I love real food. I'm trying. Trying to balance having next to no time, with wanting to eat home-cooked food 95% of the time. Trying to balance a not-exhorbant food budget with my beliefs about ethical omnivorism (to use an unapologetically pretentious term), and what's really healthy. So that means working at eating lots of fresh, seasonal, local, (and organic when it matters) fruits and vegetables, high quality dairy products, grass fed/pastured/free range meat when possible, and almost no processed food at all. I feel better when I eat this way. I know that I will deal with being stressed and overscheduled much better when I take the time to eat right. We spend $100 a week on groceries. That includes really really good coffee beans. That feeds us each 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 6 dinners. I know that I could spend less if I was willing to sacrifice quality. It's hard. It's hard to come home after 11 hours, knowing I have 3-4 hours of studying to do, and contemplate cooking dinner, and then packing breakfast, lunches, and snacks for the next day, and then cleaning up after it all. I'm not a particularly fast cook - alot of recipes seem to take a lot longer than they should once you factor in prep like chopping and marinating. Even on nights when I plan a very simple fallback dish like pasta with pesto (homemade, frozen) and chicken, it's at least an hour spent in the kitchen, not including sitting and eating. I do a little batch cooking every Sunday, so I've got really good homemade food in the freezer, but I'm not content with just reheating food every night of the week. Plus we do that for our lunches, because mostly I prep stuff on Sunday to put in our lunch boxes. I love eG. You're all normal people who love quality food, and the process of creating it. Some of you make it seem so simple, balancing a busy life and lots of cooking for pleasure too. How do you do it? I feel like a failure because I haven't baked bread in a month, and because I take shortcuts and still get stressed. How do you have time and energy to take care of everything? And how do you handle the people in your life who tell you that you're manufacturing stress by wanting to eat healthy, delicious, home cooked food? We've got support threads for weight watchers, and for eating cheap. I thought we could use this one to remind each other that it's worth it when we're tempted to take the easier alternatives to feeding ourselves and our families. Because I don't have that support among my family and friends. So tell me that I'm not alone in feeling this way, that I'm right, that it is worth it, even that I'm just a little overwhelmed at the moment and should stop whining.
  14. My favorite new tip involves de-seeding/watering tomatoes before dicing. Cut the tomato in half through the stem, cup it in your hand, and scoop out the seeds/watery stuff with your fingers, as if you were "shaking hands with the tomato." That either came from someone here, or Marcella Hazen, I can't figure out which. It's so simple, but thinking- shake hands with the tomato - de-soggified many a dish involving diced tomatoes.
  15. This Arugula, Bacon, and Gruyère Bread Pudding from December's Gourmet was wonderful. All mixed together, before adding the custard mixture, it looks like a delightful BLT panzanella. Then it bakes up looking just like the picture. It's a great flavor/texture combination - creamy eggs mixture, smooth and crunchy bread, savory bacon and cheese, peppery arugula. It made me think that summer:bread salad as winter:bread pudding. Great reasons to save ends of bread.
  16. I've belonged to my CSA for 2 seasons now, and I'll admit, there have been a couple of weeks when I've felt a little bit the same as the OP when I got my share home and spread it out on the kitchen counter, and said to myself, is this all? Or, what am I going to do with all this _____? There were definately some lean weeks where I probably could have gotten more for my weekly cost at the Farmer's Market. There were also definately some weeks where I would have been happy to never see a huge bunch of fresh basil or 12 heirloom tomatoes ever again. But, on balance, I know that my CSA has been an amazing experience. The work requirement means I am out at the farm at least 3 mornings a season, harvesting, cleaning, and packing that week's share. So I am connected, and I understand why I am only getting one little eggplant, or why there are only enough watermelons for the partial shares. Without my CSA, I wouldn't have disovered that I love rainbow chard, or kohlrabi. I wouldn't wax poetic about a pasta sauce of tomatoes and leeks. I wouldn't have stood in a feild in front of a fence of climbing rattlesnake beans next to my farmer, and fell in love with the taste 10 seconds off the vine. Sure, I could go to the Farmer's Market and pick out my own. Some weeks I would spend more, some weeks less. But I love the simplicity of having those decisions made for me. I love automatically getting the most seasonal vegetable. And I'm positivie that, averaged over the 26 week season, I get more than my money's worth. It's funny though. My CSA says that a full share should be enough produce to feed a mostly vegetarian couple for a week. I do a full share just for me, and I am most decidedly an omnivore. On a good week with a little planning, nothing goes to waste. I may just be a mutant vegetable eating freak though, so YMMV.
  17. So, is everyone else available January 5? Aaron, chilihead, Dividend, Mamagotcha? jgm, joiei, are you coming up? ← Thinking about it, seriously. Just get all the snow and ice melted before then. ← It's like 75 degrees today! No excuses! When do we eat?
  18. I'll play: In 2009, I will eat at 10 restaurants in Kansas City that I've never been to. I will make homemade pasta, and can some homemade spaghetti sauce to go with it. I will find at least 3 ultimate recipes for something. You know the recipe you turn to over and over again as being the best bang for your buck for a certain thing? This year I think I need to find them for sweet hings: from scratch roll-out butter cookie dough, brownies, and chocolate cake. I will learn how to properly make gravy for biscuits and gravy. It's still my albatross and has been for years! I will teach bread baking to the kids at church for Healthy Kids Camp again. I will read my Gourmet every month. I love laying on the couch with the new issue and spending a leisurely hour reading it. How sad was it that I just found 4 unread issues? I need to make time to relax. Seriously. (I guess to add to the above, I will also make at least 1 recipe from Gourmet each month. I will not give in and go out to lunch when I've packed a beautiful lunch in my Mr. Bento. Or at least try to do it less. And only when someone else is paying.
  19. Last night I took a package of steaks out of the freezer to defrost for dinner tonight. When I looked at them in the fridge this morning, I discovered that they were lamb steaks instead of the beef strip steaks I had intended. My plan for dinner had been to cook the steaks using the hot cast iron skillet --> hot oven approach, to serve with potato gratin. I don't cook lamb that much. Can I cook these lamb steaks in a similar way? If not, how should I cook them? I don't have a ton of time, so marinades and such are out.
  20. Fresh salsa my coworker brought in. I noticed it sitting out on the counter on the way back in from my cigarette break; the vibrant red tomatoes and green bits of jalapeno caught my eye. Getting closer to it, I could smell the onions and cilantro and cumin. I think she could sense me eyeing it from the other side of her cubicle partition, because she poked her head around and said, "Help yourself." It was wonderful. Made by her friend who is from Mexico, eaten with peices of homemade flour tortillas. I stood in the hallway, transported by the taste, and ate more of it than was prudent. I'm back at my desk now and I can still taste it.
  21. My parent's kitchen is slowly driving me mad. I'm living there temporarily, and pretty much anything I want to cook, they're willing to buy the groceries for. But they don't really cook for themselves anymore, and some of the design decisions from their ktichen remodel make that obvious. Why are the stove and sink against opposite walls, with an island in the middle? Why is the sink made of white ceramic that can be scratched with stainless steel or cast iron? And the most aggravating thing is the flat, WHITE, glass/ceramic stovetop. Last week I stir fried some greens in a non-stick skillet. This somehow made the burner SO DIRTY that it took me 20 minutes to get it clean, using special glass cleaner, then special super-expensive ceramic cleaner, then, finally, a razor blade. I can deal with the fact that my new BF has a crappy electric stove that came with his house. I know that stoves are expensive to replace. I cannot fathom why anyone would buy a stove like my parents have on purpose.
  22. Don't be suprised if you run into me there - I was thinking the same thing. I'm enjoying the fact that lettuces and leafy things have made a comeback in my CSA shares, so I've been doing lots of stir fry dishes with chard and asian greens. I'm really going to miss the healthy, vibrant way that eating lots of super-fresh greens makes me feel. It's also about time for my annual trek to an apple orchard in Weston to pick apples for apple butter and apple sauce.
  23. I disagree with this opinion. Sexual language used to describe food is on target when you're talking about the physical pleasures experienced through food. I remember my first bite of foie gras, so intensely savory that it almost crossed the threshold from pleasure into pain - there's almost no way to convey that to someone without comparisons to an orgasm. So in that sense, the language is appropriate, with no implications as to morality or how I relate to my food. Now I would tend to agree that this kind of language is overused, especially when applied to mediocre renditions of cheesecake, or anything containing chocolate, as a blatant marketing attempt. If you're going to use such inherently evocative language, what you're describing should deliver. Every boy I know is under the belief that all women get aroused eating cheesecake because of this, or that dipping supermarket winter strawberries in melted toll-house chocolate chips will automatically get them somewhere. Some more selectivity in this regard might un-dilute these metaphors.
  24. I'm so jealous. I want an eG boyfriend! Congrats though, I love stories like that.
  25. Here's a couple of scenarios. Scenario 1: I'm making the 3 hour drive back from our lake house with my brother and his freind. Halfway home, we stop for gas and a quick dinner. They insist on a fast food place that I can't stand. Said place shares a parking lot with another fast food place which is an occasional guilty pleasure of mine. I get a meal to go, and carry it to into the other restaurant to sit and eat with them. Scenario 2: I pack a bento lunch almost every day for work. My best friend, who I carpool with, like to go to Burger King for lunch EVERY day. I like to get out of the office for my lunch hour instead of eating at my desk. So I go with him to Burger King, and sit and eat my packed lunch while he eats his value meal. How horrendously gauche am I being in either of these situations? Do the rules of etiquette being bandied around in this thread even apply to fast food places? I mean, I would never bring my own lunch into a sit down restarant.
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