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Everything posted by dividend

  1. This episode pissed me off - how is it possible that 8/10 didn't understand immediately that IQF was the way to go? It's like the majority of them had never frozen and re-heated anything before, so the team with a smidgen of understanding wins practically by default. It was cringe-inducing to watch some of them dump huge frozen blocks into a hot skillet. It's too bad, because I actually thought this was a cool challenge.
  2. Slightly off topic, but I have a question. I have it in my head that peices of sushi are intended to be eaten in a single bite, but often times the peices are too large to do that with any degree of grace. (This may be because I've been under the impression that I'm supposed to use chopsticks.) Is it horribly gauche to bite a peice in half? What's the etiquette for this?
  3. My EX had this book. It has cardboard pages like a children's book. I thought it was a joke. Then he actually tried to cook from it. He picked "Spaghetti-o Stir Fry." Cooked bell pepper strips, browned ground beef, Spaghetti-o's. Tastes just like it sounds. He was so proud that he had "cooked" something. I made sure this got "lost" when we moved. I think mine would have to be The New Joys of Jello. Full of perky illustrations of middle aged 1950's suburban couples taking various jello-based dishes to cocktail parties. Think "loaves" made of unflavored gelatin and canned salmon, garnished with mayonaise. My mom gifted this to me among a stack of old cookbooks she thought I'd get a kick out of. I certainly did with this one.
  4. I will continue to go for the cheddar biscuits, which I've been convinced for some time contain crack. In order to get said biscuits, I will order a mixed shrimp plate. It's pretty hard to screw up fried shrimp, or shrimp in a sea of garlic butter.
  5. I'm in love with your living space. Minimalism like that is incredibly appealing. It forces you to be selective in accumulation of stuff that inevitably ends up as junk. Doubly so in the kitchen. I'm trying to get off my BBQ soapbox from last week, but let me know if you want me to send you something better from Kansas City.
  6. dividend

    Lunch! (2003-2012)

    These are gorgeous! I love packing (and eating and looking at pictures of) bento-lunches.
  7. dividend

    Recipe v. Formula

    I definately learned this when I first started baking with sourdough. There is an amazing difference in consistency between 1:1 flour:water by volume, and by weight, and that difference is evident in the finished product. It's also a lot easier to weigh things than it is to dirty up measuring cups and spoons. My layman's take on the original questions is that a formula is a way of generalizing recipes in terms of ratios. So I know the ratio of oil:vinegar that's good for a vinagraitte - one peice of knowledge that lets me make hundreds of different kinds and quantities. I look at formulas as templates from which to generate recipes. It makes cooking sort of object-oriented in a way that appeals to me.
  8. I only measure ingredients when the ratio is important. So things like rice, breads and and pastries, sauces, spice rubs, and vinagraittes. I also strictly measure when using my mom's recipes, because I know that she always did and I'm looking to recreate them. I don't think I ever measure salt, except in breads or spice rubs. I definately don't measure when chopping things like onions and garlic, or putting olive oil in a pan. I do measure portions of things, like weighing a couple oz. of pasta or scooping out one cup of dried cereal or 1/4 cup of trail mix. That's mostly to keep me from mindlessly overeating.
  9. I really enjoyed the opportunity to share my week with you guys! Thanks for all the great feedback!
  10. The last thing I want to show you guys is back to something personal. When I was little, in the summer we often did Sunday steak dinners at my grandparents' house. My grandfather had a special method of cooking steaks, and it's what I grew up beleiving the perfect steak should be. He passed this method on to my dad, and I will now share with you this family secret. Here's the scene: My parents' back porch in the suburbs, with the trusty kettle coming to the perfect temperature, which is lower than most of you think when you think steaks. Here's the method. You need a couple of packs of not too thick generic supermarket t-bone steaks, and both seasoned and unseasoned tenderizer. Adolph's is the prefered brand, McCormick's will do in a pinch. Each steak gets liberally coated with tenderizer, seasoned on one side, unseasoned on the other. Then you stab them vigorously with a fork on both sides ("forking the steaks" is a coveted task indeed). Then they rest at room temperature for a while. If you're grilling corn, start that first. Then onto the grill they go: Here's where it gets complicated. My dad is ex-military, and is also a fantical hobbyist of organization skills and time management. How does this relate to steaks? It means, of course, that there's an entire complicated regime of timing to the second on a stopwatch, rotating and flipping at various intervals. I've never quite wrapped my brain around the timing (which of course means I can't be trusted to do this correctly on my own), but it appears to take between 20 and 25 minutes. Once they're done correctly, which means completely cooked through yet fork tender, remove them to a platter: Dish them up, preferably with grilled sweet corn and sliced tomatoes: And eat: Even though I've grown into a great appreciation of a beautiful cut of steak, cooked perfectly medium rare, and my method of choice for cooking steaks at home is to sear in a blazing hot skillet and finish in the oven in an attempt to acheive that perfection, my grandfather's (and now my dad's) steaks are what I crave on a Sunday afternoon.
  11. Argh. My camera's battery died this morning, deleting some of the pictures I tried to take at brunch. The ones I did take managed to be some of the worst ones all week. Oh well - brunch was fantastic. Bluestem is in sort an unassuming location for a fine dining establishment, tucked in along Westport road next to a sonic and a game store. We got there at noon to find the dining room crowded, so we hung out in the very comfortable lounge while we waited. It's a cozy space, with an atmosphere that's very conducise to laid back ordering and lingering conversation. Judy had brought along a jar of fresh tomato juice from her garden, which she convinced them to turn into simply sublime bloody marys: What a wonderful treat! We were given paper menus, which are reprinted quite frequently as items change based on what's locally available. We tried to order some fried okra, but as it was late in the brunch service, they were out. We found out later that they'd only received enough okra to fill five orders. Made sense to me, as I'd had the same experience on Wednesday with okra in the CSA shares. While we waited for our table, we drank coffee and shared an order of pomme frites with garlic parsley: With different dipping sauces - tarter sauce, whole grain mustard with truffle oil, spicy aoili, and smoked ketchup. The frites were great, thick cut and crispy. Eventually we migrated to the dining room, to a sunny table by the windows: I'd only ever been here for dinner (the best dinner I've ever eaten anywhere), and at night the dining room is dimly lit and sort of romantic. It's an equally enjoyable atmosphere when flooded with afternoon sunlight. In addition to our individual orders, we shared an order of "Local Cantaloupe: Proscuitto Picante, Saba Vinegar, Olive Oil, and Ciabatta". This was so good that when the waitress came to clear away the rest of the plates, we made sure we'd eaten every last peice before we let her take this one. Between the five of us, we ordered "Ham and Cheese Crepes: Berkshire Ham, Gruyere, Sunny Side Campo Lindo Egg": "Bluestem Breakfast: Corn Muffins, Sausage Gravy, Potato Hash, Berskshire Ham, Campo Lindo Eggs": "Frittata: Basil, Crum's Heirloom Tomatoes, Parmesan": Also a very delicious B.L.T. with house made chips, but that pic doesn't appear to have survived. This is the sort of place where it feels very natural to linger for a couple of hours or more, eating and chatting. I had good company - hopefully some of you will chime in and fill in my woefully inadequate description. I will say it's fun to eat with a group that not only doesn't care that you're photographing everything, but actively rearranges the table to get a better shot. Getting to geek out about the Kansas City dining scene is never a bad thing, either.
  12. I cooked dinner last night. I know you guys would much rather see more around-the-town shots, but I do try and use up the glut of produce I end up with. I got a "salsa pack" in my share, along with some beautiful tomatoes: I'm going to wax poetic for a moment here about how much I love eGullet. One of my favorite threads here is this eGCI course on Mexican table salsas. For me, that exemplifies all the great things about this place - sharing of knowledge and passion, piquing of curiosity and the urge to try new things. I know that before I came here, not only would I probably never have found my CSA in the first place, but I certainly wouldn't have looked at this pile of vegetables and immediately known how to turn it into a fantastic roasted salsa. Not at all authentic, I know, but this community has helped me to have the confidence to try things, with the reasonable expectation that they'll turn out good. So I halved and broiled everything: And chunked it all up with some salt and lime juice in my trusty KitchenAid: The rest of the meal was jump-started from the deep freeze. A couple months ago I made up a bunch of fajitia kits - basically chopped marinated chicken peices, and chopped peppers and onions. I can just pull one out, defrost it, and cook everything up quickly in a skillet: The end result being some pretty tasty chicken fajitas: Like I said earlier, this is the way I like dinners to be - quick, from scratch without being labor intensive. Pics from brunch this morning a little later - I'm getting ready to head to the 'burbs for dinner at the parents'.
  13. From the City Market Farmer's Market yesterday. This summer I've been mostly just going to browse. Some good looking blackberries and blueberries, but I don't have time to do any canning for the next couple of days. So I just wandered. As you can see, this market gets ridiculously crowded, especially as it gets later in the morning. One of the anchoring buildings of the open market space houses the Steamboat Arabia museum. It's a steamboat that sunk in the Missouri river in 1865, then the river changed course and left it buried in a feild. It was excavated now peices of it and all of it's contents (most remarkably well preserved) are on display. I am a total sucker for wasabi peas: I stopped into Carollo's Italian Market to snag some bulk kalamata olives: And some fresh mozarella cheese: That's ammunition for two of my favorite dishes. I'll make cherry tomato and olive salad (again from the Naked Chef cookbook), and caprese salad. Both are dishes that I love for being more than the sum of their parts, and I eat alot of them this time of year. Finally, there's BBQ here too: I don't eat their very often, but there patio is a lovely place when they have live music.
  14. PS - If I'm managing to make some people homesick for Kansas City, I've done my job here.
  15. Yesterday morning, I did a bunch of my favorite Saturday morning things. First, I took the boy I'm dating to Blue Bird Bistro. This is a great little restaurant tucked into a funky neighborhood, with a focus on local, organic ingredients. (I think that may be a theme of this blog.) Interior shot: I love the old fashioned rough paper menus: I've come here many times and never managed to order off any page besides the breakfast page: I went with my old standby, the Summit Street Benedict. Poached eggs, onions, roasted red peppers, feta cheese, capers, hollandaise. This is one of those dishes with strong contrasting flavors. My mom says that this restaurant is not for everyone, because none of the dishes are traditional versions of things. My boy, despite not being a regular breakfast eater, and not liking eggs in any form (he does have many redeeming qualities), thoroughly enjoyed his french toast: This may, indeed, be the best french toast in the world. That's a half order, two huge slices of ciabatta from the bakery next door, coated in a citrusy vanilla egg batter, served with pecan butter so good you could eat it with a spoon. Breakfast requirements satisfied, we went next door to Fervere. I can't say enough good things about this bakery. They bake naturally leavened breads in a massive, breathtaking brick oven, in this tiny narrow space. They have posted hours, but tend to close when they've sold all their bread. Not only do they bake the best bread I've ever had outside of good, thoughtful homemade stuff, but being in the bakery is like stepping back in time. It's harder than it should be to find good bread in Kansas City, and this is the best I've found. I guess I'm also a sucker for the inherent romance of buying bread from a little place like this. Sometimes I feel like I was born a century too late. I have pics from the City Market too, I'll get them up when I get back from brunch at Bluestem!
  16. So I was going to cook dinner last night, but my best friend called and offered me a more fun alternative - split some Jimmy John's and go drink beer on his porch while it rained. I didn't really have choice since he called from my driveway. Jimmy John's is a self-proclaimed gourmet sandwich shop, and the do indeed have good sandwhiches. It's probably a good thing I live just outside their delivery radius, so I don't have that temptation every night I think I'm too lazy to cook. Dinner taken care of, we had to trek down to the suburbs to a giant liquor superstore for a specific Colorado microbrew that his girlfriend likes, since none of the twelve liquor stores within a mile of my apartment carry it. I'm not much of a beer drinker, but: nothing says summer quite like sitting outside with a bottle of Boulevard Wheat with a lemon. Great locally brewed beer. We trekked back to his house, where we had to re-arrange pretty much the entire contents of the fridge to fit in all the beer we'd bought. This gave me the chance to observe that the BBQ sauce selection in the fridge was woefully inadequate, consisting of two different varieties of Kraft, and two kinds of KC Masterpeice, and to commence appropriate chastisement. What happened next is one of the reasons he's my best friend. He went to a cabinet in the bottom corner of the kitchen, reached to the very back, and lined up along the counter the trifecta: He explained that he has to hide the good stuff from his three roommates who don't appreciate the difference. We proceded to drink alot of beer on the rambling front porch, it rained, and life was good.
  17. I went down to the Plaza yesterday afternoon. There are some people who like to pronounce it with "Plaaaaaaaaaahza" with a snobbish kind of tone, because of the abundane of upscale stores and fancy restaurants. I may or may not be one them. I go for the specialty food and kitchen stores, and the beautiful scenery. But first, I was hungry. I need pizza. This is my favorite place to get pizza. Papa Kenos is a funky, college town style pizza shop with giant gourmet slices. When I say giant, I mean giant. I see people carrying out entire pies that seriously look too big to fit through a door. Lots of good specialty slices on the menu, all cooked to order in their extremely hot deck ovens: My favorite being the Kid Keno. But today I was in the mood for pepperoni with pesto sauce instead of the usual tomato sauce. I was informed that would take about twenty minutes, so I ordered some breadsticks with cheese and roasted garlic to tide me over. They threw those in for free since the slice would take longer than usual. Mmmm, roasted garlic. I like to dip these in a mixture of jalapeno steeped olive oil and parmesan cheese. And the giant, gooey, burn-your-mouth hot slice. Between the immense quantities of roasted garlic, and the pesto sauce, I'm pretty glad I was dining alone. I probably could have killed someone with my garlic breath. Fortified, I headed for the Plaza. As you turn off Main Street and into the Plaza, you pass the J.C. Nichols Fountain: This is a popular place to hang out, sit with a date, and absorb some the beautiful ambiance of this corner of town. (If you were to look pretty much directly behind this picture, you'd see the original Winstead's.) Kansas City is a sister city of Seville, Spain, and thus you see a lot of Spanish style architecture, and alot of fountains. There are different places on the Plaza where you can take walking fountain/architecture tours, which are kind of fun to do. Random plaza pictures (because it's a pretty place to spend an afternoon): I haven't yet had a chance to eat at Starker's, but it's on my list. I hear very good things. A fun thing to do on a first date is to come down here and just window shop. It's an easy way to get to know someone, with excuse to see if you share similar tastes in in important things like art, kitchen gadgets, furniture, coffee, gelato, and cheese. I headed for the Better Cheddar, one of my favorite places for impulse food purchasing. This place has hundreds of different kinds of cheeses from around the world, great signs explaining each of them, and almost all of them convienently cut into cubes for tasting. Plus teas, tapenades, wine, meats, and some pastas. I'm a sucker for this kind of store. I was only able to take one picture before inside before I was informed that the owner doesn't allow pictures. Oh well. I bought a chunk of Norwegian Gjetost, which is goat's milk cheese roasted until it carmelizes. It tastes like caremel crossed with cheese - what's not to love. I also bought a grapefruit GUS: (inspired by this thread, and escaped to a bench across the street to drink it. It was indeed light and refreshing, and I plan to drink the rest of it with vodka in it. Walking to my next destination, I passed a row of expensive restaurants: Including the Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant that I hear is wonderfully romantic. I always hear it mentioned in the context of either prom dates or marriage proposals. Next door is Kona Grill, a sort of pan asian place. All I know is that on a Friday or Saturday night, it's chock full of pretty girls in fancy outfits drinking $10 cocktails (that's expensive for Kansas City), who look like they're trying to attract a rich husband. Not really my scene. I much prefer the laid back bars just up the hill in Westport. Continuing on: Gelato! My best friend introduced me to this place a couple of weekends ago. We had eaten lunch at Cupini's, and he had a craving for gelato. I so regret that I won't be able to fit in a trip to Cupini's this week, so I'll just endorse it heavily. It's a little Italian place on the corner of State Line and Westport Road. I've probably eaten 3/4 of the menu, and everything had been fabulous, no exageration. If you haven't been there, go! /PLUG. But back to gelato: Isn't that a pretty sight? They'll let you sample your way through the whole case if you want. I ordered a small mint-chocolate. The first time I came in here, I ordered an espresso, which they gave to me in a glass shot glass. I'm sort of embarassed to say that I barely stopped myself from taking it like a shot of whiskey. That would have been embarassing! I also stopped into William's Sonoma around the corner, just to browse. I never actually buy anything there, I spend my money at Pryde's. So winding my way back home, I stopped by the Nelson-Atkins, Kansas City's world class art museum. That sign is right outside the outdoor sculpture park. Bonus pictures of the giant game of badminton that's perpetually played out on the lawn: These were sort of controversial when they were first proposed, but they've become iconic now, and I love how whimsical they are. There's a really pleasant restuarant inside the museum called Rozelle Court, in a big lofty open space. It's upscale casual lunch fare served cafeteria style, and is worth checking out if you come to the museum. Now's a great time to visit the museum; it's been getting a lot of national press because of the new Bloch building. Speaking of restaurants inside art museums, also along my drive home from the Plaza is the Kemper Museum of Modern Art: Inside is Cafe Sebastienne. I had lunch with my mom there a couple of weeks ago. It's also a lunch-ish type spot, very contemporary. The eating space is a sort of outdoor-indoor patio, very tall and narrow, with stainless steel bistro tables. The food was very good: Broccoli cheese soup Very delicat halibut with carrot sauce. Crab cakes an a vaguely asian-inspired slaw.
  18. Why not? ← Yeah, I meant can't live without a gas stove. I am bad at proofreading sometimes. That sounds like a fun social activity!
  19. Before I head out to do a little shopping, I'd like to invite you guys into my kitchen. I live on the third floor of one of the many big, rambling houses that have been converted into apartments. My house dates back to the 1920's. To get to my apartment, you climb two flights of stairs, and open my door onto another steep set of stairs. Because of the narrow, steep stairs, and the fact that at the top you have to turn almost 180 degres into the apartment itself (the stairs come up on the other side of the wall in this first picture), alot of standard sized things simply won't fit up here. Like a queen sized bed, or full sized kitchen appliances. My is kitchen narrow and small, with no built in counter space at all: The little portable dishwasher with the cutting board on top is my only usable counter space. I use the table for prep when I'm doing something that requires more room. The fridge is also smaller and narrower than normal: Right now the fridge is full of a backlog of produce, and condiments, and I barely have room to store some ice, tortillas, bread, and frozen fruits and veggies up above. This is actually a new fridge that I don't have to defrost, like the last one. That was a pain. I try to make good use of the little space that I have. The cabinets above the stove are crammed full: Mostly spices, oils, vinegars and bulk rice, beans, and grains, and assorted things like sauces and peanut butter. I built my spice collection with the help of some Penzey's gift certificates (I love the fact that we have a physical store here.) Underneath the one cabinet I have for dishes is my set of canisters: Various kinds of flours, salts, and coffee, all neatly labeled. These canisters were in my parents' kitchen growing up, hence the sort of retro colors. And of course, my liquor shelf. My everyday drink of choice is Jack Daniels with a little water. Even though the kitchen itself is small, I've been outfitting it with the important stuff: Hanging set of All Clad, nice pot rack suspended by tacky yellow bicycle hooks. It adds a little bit of kitsch, I think. Pair of KitchenAids and Oster blender The stand mixer's name is Lady Mixalot. Yes, you can laugh at that. I have the Artisan series, partly because I love the gorgeous cobalt blue. I've been abusing this thing heavily for several years now and it has yet to let me down. Despite spending lots of money on kitchen equipment, I tend to be pretty thrifty in other areas. In that vein, I converted an old computer desk into a microwave cart / kitchen storage: And my mom's old china cabinet into a canning station: The drawers and shelves bellow are full of glass jars, lids, rings, and the necassary tools like a jar lifters and funnels. I'm really pleased with how well this works. All the shelves in my pantry come from "large item pick up day" in my parents' neighborhood. The city comes around twice a year to haul away heavy items for free, and the night before is a great night to go treasure hunting. I don't know what I would do without this pantry. Not only do I use it to store bulk things from Costco, random food overflow, and cleaning supplies, but the other half of it stores bicycle racks and scuba diving equipment. Lastly, here's my little peice of rooftop paradise: Despite being two stories up and semi dangerous, this is one of my favorite things about my apartment. So that's my cooking and eating space. None of the walls meet at right angles and there's barely any space. But I've lived here for almost three years, and I've really learned what is important in a kitchen, and what is merely pretty but superfluous. I also now know that I can't live with a gas stove.
  20. Well, let's see. I grew up firmly planted in the Kansas suburb of Johnson County. This presents it's own set of locale-based rivalries, since Johnson County is the most affluent county in the metro by far. This causes a lot of perception of wealth-based snobbery, and when I started working up north, I heard a lot of jokes about "Johnson County princesses" and "I could never live in a soulless suburb." My parents grew up about a half mile from each other in Wyandotte county, just a little west of state line, and the house my grandmother lives in is a stone's throw from State Line Road. She was originally from the Hyde Park neighborhood, and attended Westport High School, not a mile from where I live now. My parents moved to their current home when I was three, because the school district is excellent. I want to college in Lawrence at the University of Kansas, so I am, quite literally, a Jayhawk. (You want to talk about green - that is one gorgeous campus, full of big open green lawns, and a pond flanked by sloping hills in the center.) So you see, I have deep roots on both sides of the state line. I've had a chance to work all over the metro - out of the Plaza along Blue Parkway, up north near Parkville, and now in the Northland. I actually have a sunflower tattoo that looks very much like my avater. I got it done when I visited my one of my childhood best friend who is transplanted to Rochester, NY. She has a matching one. I think (and the number of KC expats in this thread help to prove) that this is an area of the country that tugs at you and never fully lets you go. My dad calls it "the best kept secret in the country." The original is indeed the one just off the Plaza. I was happy to find one up north with all the charm of the original. This is absolutely true. The Kansas City metro area is full of parks and open green spaces. I'm going down to the Plaza in a bit to a couple of my favorite specialty stores, and I'll swing by and take some pictures of the Nelson Atkins Museum and the surrounding parks, to try to give some idea. This obviously necassitates a second vacation sometimes soon.
  21. Yet another quick breakfast: Plain 1% yogurt, mixed berries, lemon marmalade I made in January, granola. I'm looking forward to the weekend when I eat real substantive breakfasts, instead of just fortifying for my ten hour workdays. Lunch was better: (I think I may have taken the worst picture ever here, but oh well. It's actually a kind of neat looking building, with the radio spire on top.) I love Winstead's - old fashioned steakburgers and diner ambiance, been around for over sixty years. There are a few of them scattered around the Kansas City metro area, and I'm glad there's one close to my office. Inside, you seat yourself: The menu: Note the "Tiny Tot Treat" - a scaled down meal designed for little kids. I was very sad when I realized that I had outgrown ordering that. It's ok because the grown up stuff on the menu is great. I opt for a single Winstead, cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayonaise, and grilled onions, with a side of Fifty-Fifty - half fries and half onion rings (which may just be the greatest idea ever): And a diet cherry coke, which came with four maraschino cherries in it!
  22. I went to the 39th Street Farmer's Market to do the second part of my CSA work requirement. Since the farm itself is pretty far north of the city, in addition to distributing shares at the farm itself, they come down to this market on Wednesdays and those of us who pick up at this location take turns staffing the tent. So here's how pick-up works. Members come and check their names off the sign-in sheet, and move down the line marked either full or partial: Each box is labeled with instructions as to how much of what to take, and most boxes have choices. Like today, they could either have lettuce or a "salsa pack". The newsletter listed okra as one of the choices, but there were only about three portions of that. Here's some of those carrots I pulled out of the ground in the morning: Onions, zucchini, and tomatoes (they got a pint of cherry tomatoes and several of the different large varieties): Dried herbs, requiring a 25 cent deposit for the tin: Everyone got one of those gorgeous sunflowers Rebecca was picking when I got to the farm: The market itself is in a small parking lot next to a coffee shop. There were about eight different vendors, and this market has more of a hippy contingent than some of the other markets. The lady with the booth directly adjacent to ours is trying to start a raw vegan restaurant, and one of the stalls features macrobiotic live culture drinks in ball jars. There was also a guy dressed up in a tomato costume, who alternated between dancing around on the edge of the street as a live advertisement, and a tomato tossing game with some of the young kids, and then brought paper wrapped smashed tomatoes to our booth in case someone wanted them for their compost bin. This was a fun experience. I think it's neat when the farmers who grow the food you eat every week greet you by name (as they did with nearly every member who came by), and then you help distribute food that you personally pulled from the feilds that morning. Tons of people brought their young children. Alot of them got involved in crafts or tomato tossing, but my favorite was this little guy: He was content to just toddle around, taking bites out of one of the sweet peppers from his mom's share. By the time we were done with distribution, I was physically exhausted, but mentally invigorated. I'd spent most of the day in the midwestern sunshine, and gotten a chance to really dig in and be a part of my food chain. I had taken my share early and set it aside. When we were done, the other volunteer and I got to pick from the leftovers and take anything extra we wanted. As I was putting my share items in the beautiful cloth tote bag I bought at the CSA orientation, for some reason I was thinking it wasn't as much as we normally get. I think I was mentally comparing it to the first few weeks, when big, bulky, leafy things overflowed the bags. But I got home and spread it all out, and it's quite a spread: Green beans, "salsa pack" containing small onions, tomatillos and a hot pepper, eggplants, onions, tomatoes (and a pint of cherry tomatoes not pictured), carrots, basil, and sunflowers. Yum!
  23. Second BBQ of the week. The original Arthur Bryant's at 18th and Brooklyn. I know there's several new outposts, including a hunting lodge-esque one out by the Kansas Speedway, and I don't care. This one is the best. Menu: Obligatory shot of the "no tipping" sign mentioned over in the KC BBQ thread in the Heartland forum: It does indeed appear to be new, shiny, and completely incongruous with the setting. I tried to order sausage and burnt ends on a sandwich, but, horror of horrors, they were out of sausage! (That's probably because it was 3:30PM, so it's my own damn fault.) Oh well, burnt ends it is: My friend ordered the same, with fries for us to split. I'm not crazy about the fries here, because they don't salt them at all when they come out of the fryer. I completely associate fries with salty goodness, so these don't do it for me. Whatever. The burnt ends are astoundling good. (I guess you've realized by now that if you want to see ribs, this is not the blog for that.) So the restaurant looks like this: My friend, having never been to this location, had a hilarious exchange with the man behind the counter, which typifies the kind of go-to-hell attitude that helps make this place great: Friend: (looking right at the open loaf of Wonder Bread in front of him in the window) I want some more bread. (Raps on window.) Hey, can I have some more bread? Counterman: (Rolls his eyes and walks away) Friend: (Raps on the window again) Can I please have some more bread? The counterman proceeds to grab the open loaves of bread, hurl them over his shoulder, plunk down a fresh loaf, tear it open in the middle, thrust it at my friend, and yell "How much bread do you need, man?!?!?!?" There are three different kinds of sauce on each table: My preference, if you couldn't guess, is for the Rich and Spicy. Coming up later, I have pictures of the CSA distribution point. I also went to take pictures of my fridge, but discovered that the lightbulb in my kitchen is burnt out, and I don't have any spares. My bad, I'll correct that ASAP.
  24. I knew Sandy would have the definative answer. And much better articulated than I would have been able to reply.
  25. So I had to be out at the farm at 8AM for my work shift. As usual, I was running a little behind in the morning. I at breakfast in my car: 1/2 cup of Bear Naked Peak Protein Granola. I like to make my own, but sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do, right? It took me about 45 minutes to drive up to the farm, winding out of the city and up through progressively smaller towns and narrower highways. The first thing I noticed about Fair Share Farm was a sense of idylic contentment that practically smacked me in the face. OK, that's kind of an oxymoron, but the place is beautiful, in a pleasant, agrarian way, and you feel it immediately. Rebecca was in the flower garden picking big, bright, happy sunflowers, and immediately approached me with a pail of them in her hands and a warm greeting. If you looked at the newsletter link I posted, you'll know what's in our shares this week. This morning we (myself, two other volunteers, Rebecca, Tom, their apprentice, and a visiting student) picked and/or cleaned carrots, cherry tomatoes, green beans, and onions. The rows of carrots are planted about a quarter mile from the main house and shed/packing building, so we walked past seemingly endless feilds of other crops. I helped to weed the edge of the row we were picking. Here's a bunch of carrots, fresh out of the ground: Tom picking some: We sorted them roughly and trimmed off the tops in the feild: Once we had around 350, we carted them back to the packing building, where they were dumped into an elevated tub, rinsed, scrubbed clean, sorted, and bundled into the actual shares: I must say that over the past few years, I've had many food-related revelations (along the lines of "oh, that's what a strawberry should taste like!"), but I didn't expect to have one over a carrot. Suffice it to say that a carrot bitten into four seconds out of the ground is unlike any other carrot. Sweet, crisp, still warm from the dirt... After a little break, we went back out into the feild to pick cherry tomatoes and green beans. We picked every non-green cherry tomato from a whole row: Which yeilded practically a full five gallon bucket. Once they were sorted and weighed, we had this gorgeous array: Isn't that one of the most beautiful things you've ever seen? I felt a tremendous sense of satisfaction that I had helped to create such a vivid display. The green beans were in an adjacent row. I had actually never seen a green bean plant before, so that was cool. You kind of paw through the short leafy plants to find the beans hanging hidden, and then pick the fat ones. A lot of effort for comparatively little volume in our buckets. I'll remember not to take a package of green beans for granted, knowing the effort it takes to hand harvest them. Our combined cache of green beans was dumped into the tub for a rinse: before being weighed and bagged for the shares. Next was cleaning onions that had been picked a week ago and left to partially cure upstairs. We snipped of the stems, trimmed the roots, and peeled off the dirtiest out layer of skin: To make nice onions for the shares: We prepped alot of them, and ended up with this: That was my four hour shift. Afterwards I picked practically an entire bush worth of fragrant basil that was going to be culled anyway, and we had the chance to pick flowers. Then we sat around a picnic table by the house, at zuccini bread that one of the other volunteers had brought, and Tom shared his incredible pickles and homemade potato salad: This was a wonderful way to spend a morning. I'm so glad I joined a CSA with a work requirement - I feel so much more grounded and connected to where my food comes from. Tom and Rebecca are incredible, warm, generous people, and my life is enriched for having made them and their farm a part of it.
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