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eG Foodblog: mizducky - The tightwad gourmand shapes up

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And today's goat-challenge winner is: (drum roll, please ...)

Ah Leung's Cantonese goat recipe.

But all your suggestions are winners--and like I said, I'm definitely filing them away for future purposes.

Meanwhile I've been contemplating the beets. I think I'm going to steam the beetroots (they're relatively small), peel and slice or chunk them, and put them in a nice vinaigrette. Maybe also add a cucumber in my crisper that's begging to be used. The greens may wind up braised or sauted or something. If I have range-space and time to do the black beans with epazote, I may try that too. Leftovers galore! And also some really nice fodder for my picnic repast at tomorrow evening's outdoor concert.

Off to the kitchen now to get myself sorted ... with camera at the ready, of course.

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And today's goat-challenge winner is: (drum roll, please ...)

Ah Leung's Cantonese goat recipe.

Wow! I feel like dancing! :laugh: I am honored. I hope you would like that recipe. I have forgotten to mention salt. Just add some to taste if you like. Both nam yu and fu yu are a bit salty. You adjust. (I have edited the original note.) Let's see how it comes out! :smile:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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[...]Also, someone asked about cooking wine. I think what the questioner was referring to are those abominations of heavily salted wine that are labeled "cooking wine." I suspect the stuff was first made during prohibition, so that chefs and foodies could still cook with wine, but wine so salty and nasty nobody would want to drink it. Chinese cooking wine does not have all that salt etc added. It's just that it is wine used primarily for cooking and not for drinking.[...]

Are you using particularly high-quality Shaoxing wine? When I went to a liquor store in Manhattan's Chinatown to inquire about rice wine, they showed me some real drinking wine that cost I think around $10 a bottle. The stuff that's sold in big Chinese supermarkets in these parts goes for closer to $1.49/bottle and is indeed fortified with salt.

I'm enjoying this blog very much, mizducky.

I was going to suggest a West Indian-style curry goat, but I have no recipe for you. I'm sure Ah Leung's recipe is delicious, though!

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Did you know that Saigon used to be a car dealership.  Probably why it's so spacious with nice, big windows  :laugh:

And I was in fact wondering what Saigon's building used to house--it's kind of an odd look for a restaurant. Must have been a bit of a tight fit for an auto dealership, though. :smile:

Specifically, it used to be San Diego Yamaha Suzuki (a motorcycle dealership), according to the Tenor. It looks like it still has the originally lighting (spots to shine on all the pretty bikes).

I hope the goat is good. I'd have voted for curry or a mexican recipe, but not having either to hand... Im no bloody help!

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Okay, a bunch of cooking has gone down, and a bunch of photos have gone up, so let me put them together for you all.

First, the goat: here's some of my mise en place:


We've got chicken broth, Shaoxing wine, dark soy sauce, five-spice powder, white and red fermented bean curd (fu yu and nam yu respectively), ground white pepper, daikon, ginger, and garlic.

Browning off the salted and peppered goat meat (because of the bones, I couldn't really cut these chunks into smaller pieces very easily, so I just went with them as is):


Frying the nam yu, fu yu, and minced garlic and ginger--I hope, Ah Leung, that you won't be offended that I used cooking spray throughout instead of oil! :blush:


I added two cups each of chicken broth and water, brought it to a boil, added a couple tablespoons worth of dark soy sauce and three teaspoons of the five spice powder (I do have whole star anice and Szechuan peppercorns, and cinnamon sticks, but none of the remainder of the five-or-so spices in whole form, so I decided to just go with the powder for the time being and see if that was strong enough). Then in went the browned meat:


While that was simmering away under its lid, I turned my attention to my beets:


Trimmed, washed, and ready to go in my trusty Pyrex baker--look how purty! :wub:


Lidded them, and slid them into a pre-heated 300-degree F oven to bake for an hour or so. Then I got the daikon all ready to go:


Oops! Didn't realize I forgot to peel them until way later, after they were in the pot and simmering with the meat. Oh well ... :blush:

Then yer faithful correspondent took a bit of a rest, with a bowlful of the La Mesa Farmer's Market strawberries splashed with some of that balsamic from TJ's:


To be continued ...

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Looking good... I would have used a lot more ginger. Perhaps 2-inch worth in length cut in thin slices. Sorry I should have provided quantities when you have selected my entry. Well... this is a test to your Chinese culinary skills. :biggrin:

You do have the lid on when you cooked, right? Oh, yeah, you showed us the glass lid from previous pictures...

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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Looking good...  I would have used a lot more ginger.  Perhaps 2-inch worth in length cut in thin slices.  Sorry I should have provided quantities when you have selected my entry.  Well... this is a test to your Chinese culinary skills.  :biggrin:

You do have the lid on when you cooked, right?  Oh, yeah, you showed us the glass lid from previous pictures...

Oh yeah, I was definitely being a little cautious with the ginger, and the other seasonings, because I overdid the ginger the last couple of times I used it. I did do a major seasoning correction as things progressed--I'll be describing that shortly. And yep--lid went right on when I started simmering. :smile:

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Today's cooking adventures, part II:

An hour into simmering the goat, I went to put in the daikon, tasted the broth in my pot, and determined that either I'd been way wimpy in my seasonings so far, or the five-spice powder I was using was the wimpy element. Or perhaps both. So along with the daikon I put in a couple of whole star anise, a small stick of cinnamon, and about a teaspoon or so of the Szechuan peppercorns. Also another slug of dark soy sauce. Then I re-lidded it, brought it back to a simmer, and carried on.

The beets took about an hour and 20 minutes to cook to tenderness. Once they were cool enough to handle, I slid the skins off--they came off almost effortlessly. And look at the gorgeous colors! :wub:


And they kept some stripes through the cooking, too:


Obviously that's a puny amount of veg, so I augmented it with a big honkin' cucumber I bought last week:


That knife, by the way, is another star of "mizducky's collection of cheap-ass cooking equipment." It's one of those super-cheapo numbers with the funny serrated blade and the molded plastic handle. I think I bought it off a pegboard in a supermarket somewhere several years ago. Not only does it refuse to die, but it's kept its edge through a ton of abuse. And it fits my hand perfectly. Hey, it may not be a Shun, but it's been working for me! :biggrin:

Anyway, this bigass cucumber was seedy as hell, so I made with the scooping action:


And then on to making the vinaigrette for this concoction. Mashing some minced garlic with some salt:


Into the measuring cup, with some extra-virgin olive oil, vinegars (red wine and balsamic), stone-ground Dijon mustard, ground pepper, and crushed dried tarragon:


This is a regimen-friendly vinaigrette, by the way--the liquid is mostly vinegar, with only a single tablespoon of oil.

Oops! Almost forgot my other onion product!


The salad assembled, and ready to be lidded and placed in the fridge to marinate:


Somewhere in there, the goat hit two hours elapsed time simmering. So once I put my beet/cucumber salad to bed, I plated up some of the goat and daikon, and had a little taste test a.k.a. dinner:


The meat was still a tad on the chewy side--if I get this cut next time, I'll remember to simmer it even longer (or perhaps give it a headstart in the pressure cooker before adding the daikon and continuing on lidded but unpressurized). But the flavor and seasoning worked out pretty well in the end. In fact, the broth is so yummy that I'm definitely going to save it, defat it if needed, and use it for something else. The daikon, alas, would have benefitted from my remembering to peel the poor thing. But it still took on good flavor from the broth, and inside the rind it was perfectly done, soft but not falling apart. I'd say I did pretty decent for a first effort with an unfamiliar ingredient. I'm definitely happy that I'll be eating this over the next day or so.

I might do up the beet greens later tonight, or I might save them for Monday--Sunday's going to be too jam-packed for any cooking (more on that later).

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Ooh, Pearl River Bridge Dark. Excellent choice in soy sauce - love that stuff. And the finaly dinner looks downright yummy, too!


Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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Mizducky, your final dinner product tonight looked terrific! I'm swooning over the salad as much as the goat. The goat dish looked nice; the salad was drop-dead gorgous.

I've never had goat meat, and I'm curious about it. Personally, I think it's difficult to describe meaty tastes, but that never stops me from asking about them. So I'll ask you: what's goat meat like?

...and you'd better not say, "it tastes like chicken!" :laugh:

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Your final dish looked really good! I am glad you like the taste.

Wow... this is the first time that I have participated in commenting and, as it turned out, have influenced the outcome of a blog! In real time!

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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Today's cooking adventures, part II:

Somewhere in there, the goat hit two hours elapsed time simmering. So once I put my beet/cucumber salad to bed, I plated up some of the goat and daikon, and had a little taste test a.k.a. dinner:


Wow Ellen, impressive, most impressive. Looks quite tasty. :smile:

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Many thanks for the compliments, folks! I'm pretty darn pleased myself. :smile:

I've never had goat meat, and I'm curious about it.  Personally, I think it's difficult to describe meaty tastes, but that never stops me from asking about them.  So I'll ask you: what's goat meat like? 

...and you'd better not say, "it tastes like chicken!"  :laugh:

I'm not so sure some chicken even tastes like chicken anymore. :laugh:

You're right, it's hard to describe. The couple of times I've had it before, I would characterize as sorta heading in the same direction as lamb and mutton ... but different. Not very helpful, huh? :raz:

This particular sample was not particularly gamey. I don't know if that's because this stuff was from a younger animal; or if this recipe's long simmer in chicken stock and assertive spices successfully tamed the gaminess. I could still taste that it wasn't beef, though.

I'm one of those people who consider the gaminess of these kinds of meats to be a positive quality. So this will definitely not be my last experiment with this stuff.

Your final dish looked really good!  I am glad you like the taste.

Wow... this is the first time that I have participated in commenting and, as it turned out, have influenced the outcome of a blog!  In real time!

Pretty cool, huh? That's why I love these blog things. Thanks for helping, Ah Leung! :smile:

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Tell me more about the beets. They are so pretty. I hate beets. In fact, I hate all root crops, and I am looking for one to like, and those beets are so pretty....

As to the goat, it looks yummy, although I am thinking (butt smoker that I am, and realizing that things need to get to a certain temp low and slow) that you didn't take it far enough for the connective tissues, collagen and fat to sort of just melt into the meat. Assuming you have leftover, a low and slow braise will take care of the too toothsome quality.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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And now, it's time once again for "From The Sublime To The Ridiculous":

I am now indulging in one of my current guilty little pleasures: Orville Redenbacher's Smart Pop Kettle Corn Microwave Popcorn. Yeah, it's trashy, but what the hell.

With it, I'm drinking a glass of cherry juice. More gout prevention. Plus it's yummy and stuff.

And this is what I choose to be consuming while I answer that postponed question about yin and yang. George Ohsawa is no doubt rolling in his grave. :laugh:

Anyway ... so yin and yang within the system of macrobiotics are similar to, but not the same as, yin and yang as they're understood in Taoism and other philosophical systems. In macrobiotics, yin and yang are two complementary, descriptive, relativistic concepts that between them characterize everything the system has to teach about food, health, and balance in the human body. They are opposites of equal value; neither is bad or good. You need both in harmony to make the system go.

Yin, very simplified, signifies expansive qualities. Yang signifies contractive qualities. Every quality of food and its effects on the body and health can be expressed as part of a yin/yang duality:

--water content: more watery is more yin, drier is more yang. For instance, a fresh apple is more yin than dried apple rings.

--size: bigger is more yin, smaller is more yang. For instance, a huge carrot is more yin while a baby carrot is more yang.

--season/climate: vegetables that grow in hotter weather and/or the summer are more yin, those that grow in cooler weather and/or the winter are more yang. For example: kale grown in hot weather or the summer would be more yin, while kale grown in cool weather/seasons would be more yang.

--method of cooking: wet methods such as steaming are more yin, dry methods such as roasting are more yang. For instance, steaming those beets would have been more yin, but roasting them was more yang.

And so on and so forth with just about any quality of food you can think of.

Foods can also be sorted on a continuum from most yin to most yang. For example, fruits and vegetables are over on the yin end of things, while meat and salt are at the yang end. And within those broad categories of food, are more continuums: for instance, among vegetables, watery ones like summer squashes are more yin, while dense ones like carrots and turnips are more yang. Traditionally, whole grains such as brown rice are about at the center of the yin/yang continuum, which is why traditional macrobiotics has such a heavy emphasis on that grain.

Knowing these relationships, you can deliberately choose foods, preparation methods, and menus to not only create balance within the system of your health, but also to influence that system towards greater balance whenever it gets out of whack (i.e. becomes ill or injured). There are a few additional principles to remember when doing this balancing act, though:

1. Like in Newtonian physics, every action in this system has an equal and opposite reaction. (The somewhat-inscruable aphorism for this, at least in English, is: "the bigger the front, the bigger the back.") So if you go out and have a 22 oz slab of prime rib for dinner, and then think you're going to balance yourself by eating a big fruit salad--or even a big bowl of ice cream--well, yeah, if you consider making your system occillate wildly back and forth like a pendulum in an earthquake as "balanced," then yes, you've just created it.

2. This leads directly to the other principle: it's much easier to balance a system with moderately yin and yang qualities, than one with extreme yin and yang qualities.

Yin and yang are totally a conceptual framework, a model if you will. It's valid to the extent that it has some kind of predictive power--i.e. you desire a certain outcome, so you take an action that the model says will produce that result, and the result does happen. So far, it's been proving pretty helpful to me.

Mind you, I'm definitely using the model in a pretty damn unorthodox manner--"real" practitioners of macrobiotics eat much closer to the center of the yin/yang continuum than I'm doing. For instance, I believe most eat animal protein only a few times a month at most, and avoid red meat entirely in favor of fish--and they sure as hell ain't eatin' no microwave popcorn with sucralose in it. :rolleyes:

Anyway, consider this brief description festooned with every "IMO" and "YMMV" type acronym out there--because I'm no expert in any of this (except, perhaps, for being some kind of expert on myself).

Edited by mizducky (log)

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Tell me more about the beets.  They are so pretty.  I hate beets.  In fact, I hate all root crops, and I am looking for one to like, and those beets are so pretty....

Interesting about your aversion to root vegetables. Is there a particular shared quality about them that you dislike? Texture? Sweetness?

I know I continue to have ambivalent feelings about overly sweet foods, which can extend to vegetables like beets and carrots, and winter squashes and red bell peppers for that matter, that have lots of natural sweetness. Sometimes even roasted red bell peppers can be overkill for me. And I really have trouble with a lot of the traditional American ways of cooking sweet veggies that accentuate their sweetness with sugars, honeys, syrups, etc. I do much better with them when their natural sweetness is tempered with sour, savory, or spicy flavorings.

These candy cane beets are reputed to be even sweeter than standard beets. But all beets also have an earthy undertone, even a slight bitterness. Roasting these beets concentrated their flavors, bringing out both the sweetness and the earthiness more than simmering them in water would have. And putting them in a tart savory marinade is tempering their sweetness--not obliterating it, but giving it an opposite note to play off of. I like beets "straight", but I can definitely eat a lot more of them when altered in ways like this.

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So tomorrow is going to be pretty jam-packed, so you'll probably be only hearing from me early in the morning, maybe very briefly in the afternoon, and then later in the evening when I finally toddle home. Here's the schedule:

9:00am - 1:30pm -- a very full morning of playing alterna-groovy Church Lady. We always have a whole flock of info tables out in the socializing area before/between/after services, and it's my Sunday to mind the table for our congregation's Rainbow Action committee (support and political action for gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender folks and their families). I'm not totally sure what kind of food activity will be happening there tomorrow morning, but there's always at the very least some bagels and cream cheese with the coffee and tea, and oftentimes somebody gets inspired to provide other goodies as well.

I thought I might be able to escape early to catch the very tail-end of the Hillcrest farmer's market, which ends at 1pm ... but I had forgotten there's a congregational meeting right after second service. Maybe I can vote real quick and run away. :unsure:

The outdoor concert I'm aiming to attend doesn't get underway until 6:00pm, but from prior experience I know that parking and lawn space fill up really early, so I'm thinking I want to get there by 4pm at the absolute latest. So I'll also take knitting and a good book in addition to my picnic gear.

In between, I might come home for a quick snack and catnap ... or I might just say hell with it and keep going. I can always nap at the concert site.

And the camera will go along with. I wonder if any of my fellow concert-goers wouldn't be too shy to have their dinners featured in this blog? :laugh:

I'm probably going to turn in pretty soon, but I'll be checking in here occasionally till then. Cheers!

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Oh yeah--best of luck with your performance! Keep on self-hydrating! :smile:

(Edited for minor space-outs...)

It was quite a success!

The self-hydrating part was easy--there was a water cooler in the artist reception room behind Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center. I--and several other Chorus members--gave that thing a serious workout.

We sold out all 600 seats in Perelman Theater. I don't think there were any professional critics in the audience, but the audience loved the performance.

We will return to the Kimmel next June. Before that, it was announced that we will open for Joan Rivers when she performs at the Keswick Theater in Glenside in October. (The Keswick is the northern 'burbs' answer to the Tower in Upper Darby, only it tends to specialize in "smooth jazz" acts and other adult pop.)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Good morning! Or more accurately, good afternoon. So far, today's schedule is going okay but experiencing some of the minro adjustments that happens with perhaps over-ambitious schedules. I overslept slightly, so had to bolt out of the house for church without saying hello earlier. Got some interesting foodie-photos (I hope!) at church, which I'll be posting later. Then I sorta gave up on trying to cram the farmer's market into the schedule, and am now back here to pack my little picnic for this afternoon/evening. Onward and outward! :biggrin:

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I'm working on gospel time these days

(The summer - this could be the cool part of the summer)

--Steely Dan, "Almost Gothic," from their Grammy-winning comeback album Two Against Nature (2000)

I arrived at church at about 9:00am, a half-hour before the first of our two Sunday services. The coffee-hour elves were already hard at work in the social hall kitchen:


Meanwhile, the social hall itself was all set up for our "Dining for Dollars Plus" silent auction fundraiser:


This is the second year of what has turned into an overwhelmingly popular fundaiser for our congregation. The concept is that certain members offer to donate their services to provide some kind of dining experience or other social event sometime in the following months, and other members bid on invitations to these events. These events proved to be not only great eating, but a great new way for people in this 1300-member congregation to meet other church folks they might not have run into before. It was only the other weekend that I attended the dinner I bid on last time, and it was a fabulous experience (which you can read about here. This year's auction book lists some pretty darned impressive offerings:


I didn't even know we had any Slow Foods USA members in the congregation! You learn something every day. :smile:

The morning progressed, and the Coffee Hour Brigade kicked into full action:


Meanwhile, not wanting to depend on the luck of the coffee hour when I had such a long day ahead of me, I fueled myself with some cheese and a cereal bar that I had packed along with me.

Two services and two coffee hours came and went, and my info-table shift was done. I raced home to pack my picnic gear, and headed out for the concert.

Let's grab some takeout from Dean and Deluca

A hearty gulping wine

--Steely Dan, "Janie Runaway," from Two Against Nature

Scripps Ranch is a well-heeled residential neighborhood in the northeastern reaches of San Diego, just up the I-15 from where I live. They have some very active community service organizations that, among other things, sponsor a popular yearly summer concert series in a local park. FXH's bands have played in this series almost every summer, barring only unavoidable schedule conflicts, so I was familiar with the routine here from previous shows. Part of the routine is that people really get into the show--and into the picnicking:




I got there early enough to be able to fit my little blanket into a space right front and center in front of the bandstand, and prepared to unpack my little cooler:


Yes, I know I'm a geek. :laugh: Years after I left their employ, I still own so much Microsoft swag that if I wore and/or carried all of it at the same time I would scare small children. But this insulated bag has proven to be a most useful item (plus I was given it as part of a corporate thank-you to our team after an emergency project that basically saved a number of corporate butts, so I'm actually kinda proud of owning the silly thing).

From the big blue bag emerged ... surprise! yet another roast beef sandwich! :laugh:


Still very tasty, if I do say so myself. I must admit that leftover roast beef lasts a good bit longer in my house now that I'm on the health regimen. Beforehand, I was totally capable of polishing off a whole roast of that size in a day. Or less. :blush:

And then there was: my beautiful beet/cucumber vinaigrette salad:


This turned out really yummy--and really tart! I like it this way--but there is one downside with these really vinegary vinaigrettes: I have to watch not to eat too much of them too late in the evening, or else I awake next day with the Chernobyl of heartburns. But ooh, it hurts so good. :laugh:

The show itself was a lot of fun--FXH really loves to play these outdoor all-ages shows, because he loves kids (some might say he's just a kid at heart himself). For anyone interested in the actual show, photos and videos will probably be turning up on FXH's website within the following week.

Edited by mizducky (log)

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Okay, it's time for one last bout of audience participation:

I've got a work-related meeting tomorrow evening, so my food activities for my last day of this blog will have to happen before then. I have in mind a couple more cooking projects, involving the epazote and the beet greens from Friday's shopping expeditions. The question is: what shall I do with them?

It turns out I do have about 1-1/2 cups of dried black beans in my pantry, so I could cook those with the epazote, and maybe also some tomatoes (canned or fresh). As for the beet greens, I could just do a simple saute/braise with the shallots I bought earlier in the week.

But I like having multiple options, and I love creative kibbitzing. So I'm throwing it open to you guys again. Same rules as last time: dishes have to fit within my food plan; and the fewer extra ingredients I have to run out and buy, the better. (Especially since I'm kinda pooped from today's runnings-around!) And once again, even if I don't use your suggestions this time, I will surely save them all for future purposes.

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Good Morning!

Ellen, I'm looking forward to your good morning or good afternoon post, and will be sorry to see your blog come to an end. In case I don't get back to post before you're finished, I'll extend my thanks and farewell now. Thank you so much for another great blog, full of valuable and entertaining food info, your wonderful wit and humor, and all written in your delightful and articulate style. I'm sure this has been motivating in some way to everyone reading it. It was for me.

It's fine to take the time needed tonight, posting into the wee hours, for blogging the final day and evening. The topic will stay open for last-minute questions or comments until tomorrow afternoon, and by then the next eG Foodblog will have begun.


Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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I've truly been enjoying your blog, MizD. I swear, you do more in a week than I do in an entire month!

What about summer borscht for the beet greens?

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Good morning, all!

Once again, I am enjoying a little more of that roast beef in a whole wheat pita for breakfast. Yep. Creature of habit. At least this morning.

I'm feeling surprisingly stiff and sore this morning--surprisingly, because even though yesterday was a very looooong day, there really wasn't a whole lot of physical exertion involved. I think it's those hours of sitting on a blanket at the picnic/concert yesterday--after about an hour or so, my derriere began to discover all the little bumps and unevennesses hidden under all that lovely soft grass. I consider it a moral victory that I managed sitting on the ground at all--not so very long ago, getting back up off the ground would have been prohibitively difficult. Still, I think I need to pick up one of those nice folding chairs before the next outdoor concert event--pushing my limits is fine, but gratuitous masochism ... ain't. :laugh:

While I'm contemplating today's activities, cooking and otherwise, I thought I'd give you a few links to books I've found particularly useful in my quest for personal health through foods (hopefully, I've built these links correctly so that eGullet will get credited if you should decide you want any of these for yourself).

Food and Healing by Annemarie Colbin. Colbin is a specialist in natural cooking, with several books and a cooking school to her name. Her philosophy expands on macrobiotics in several ways; I find it, and her explanation of it as given in this book, extremely thought-provoking. I by no means swallow everything she says whole (some of her more far-reaching claims are IMO rather shaky). But I knew I liked her when she up and said that, for some people's health and metabolisms, vegetarianism is just *not* an optimum diet. :smile:

Basic Macrobiotic Cooking by Julia Ferre. This seems to be out of print, but Amazon has links to third-party sellers. This is just as the title says: a very basic, no-nonsense cookbook. The author puts virtually no personality into the text--it reads like a computer manual--but it gets the job done, presenting simple standard macorbiotic preparations. Most of the recipes will strike folks as rather boring, but boy are they helpful when you're feeling physically out of sorts and just need some plain, wholesome food to nourish you back to health. And the book's chapter on theory is equally plain-spoken and to the point.

Healing Wise (Wise Woman Herbal Series) by Susun Weed. Yes, this is definitely a hippy-dippy organo-groovy kinda book--the author's name always makes me smile--but she's got a good head on her shoulders, and I have found her introductory essay on the benefits and drawbacks of modern medical models of healing vs. more traditional modes of healing to be very helpful. The second part of the book concentrates on just a handful of herbs (dandelion, chickweed, sea vegetables, oats, violet, etc.) covering everything from instructions on foraging in the wild, to recipes for dinner dishes as well as medicinal preparations.

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      Hello foodies. Tell us what work of art you're cooking for your meals these days. 
    • By chefmd
      My son married a lovely young lady from Yakeshi, Inner Mongolia, China.   Mongolian: ᠶᠠᠠᠠᠰᠢ ᠬᠣᠲᠠ (Ягши хот); Chinese: 牙克石; pinyin: Yákèshí
      We had a wedding in the US but her family also wanted to have a traditional wedding in China.  DH and I have never being to China so this was an exciting opportunity for us!  We spent a few days in Beijing doing touristy stuff and then flew to Hailar.  There is only one flight a day on Air China that we took at 6 in the morning.  Yakeshi is about an hour drive from Hailar on a beautiful toll road with no cars on it.  I wish we took pictures of free roaming sheep and cows along the way.  The original free range meat.
      The family met us at the airport.  We were greeted with a shot of a traditional Chinese spirit from a traditional leather vessel.  Nothing says welcome like a stiff drink at 9 AM.  We were supposed to have a three shots (may be they were joking) but family took pity on us and limited it to one only.

    • By Panaderia Canadiense
      Wow, this is my third foodblog for the eGullet….  Welcome!   I'll be with you from Palm Sunday through Holy Sunday to give you all a taste of the veritable food festival that is Easter in Ecuador.  As usual, I intend to eat on the streets, visit a plethora of small shops and vendors, and talk about (and eat copious amounts of ) the specialty dishes of the holiday.
      A bit of background on me and where I am.  I'm Elizabeth; I'm 33 years old and since the last foodblog I've ceased to be a Canadian expat in Ecuador, and become a full-fledged Ecuadorian citizen.  I run a catering bakery out of Ambato, and I deliver to clients on the entire mainland.  I've got a large customer base in nearby Baños de Agua Santa, a hot-springs town about an hour downslope of me to the east; I'll be visiting it on Wednesday with close to 100 kg of baked goods for delivery.  Ambato, the capital of Tungurahua province, is located almost exactly in the geographic centre of Ecuador.  It's at an average elevation of 2,850 meters above sea level (slightly higher than Quito, the capital) - but this is measured in the downtown central park, which is significantly lower than most of the rest of the city, which extends up the sides of the river valley and onto the high plain above.  We've got what amounts to eternal late springtime weather, with two well-marked rainy seasons.  Ambato has about 300,000 people in its metro area; it's the fourth largest city in the country.  But maybe the most important thing about Ambato, especially to foodies, is that it's a transport hub for the country.  Anything travelling just about anywhere has to pass through Ambato on the way; it gives us the largest, best-stocked food market in South America.  I have simply staggering variety at my fingertips.

      This view, which was a teaser for the blog, was taken from my rooftop terrazzo.  It is a fraction of the panorama of the river valley that I see every morning, and since Easter is traditionally somewhat miserable weather-wise, the clouds stick to the hilltops.  The barrio you can see in the middle distance is Ficoa, one of the most luxury districts in the city.  Ambato is notable amongst Ecuadorian cities for having small fruit farms (300-500 m2) still operating within city limits and even within its most established barrios - it's from this that the Ambato gets one of its two sobriquets: The City of Fruits and Flowers.  The tendency for even the poorest barrios to take tremendous pride in their greenspaces gives the other: The Garden City.  My barrio, Miraflores Alto, is a working-class mixture of professors and labourers, and my neighbours keep a mixture of chickens, turkeys, and ducks in their yards; someone down the hill has a cow that I frequently hear but have never seen.  Consequently, if the season is right I can buy duck eggs from my neighbours (and if the season is wrong, entire Muscovy ducks for roasting.)

      Today, I'll be doing my largest fresh-food shopping at the Mercado Mayorista, the largest market of its kind in South America - this place covers nearly 30 square blocks, and it exists to both buy and sell produce from across the country.  Sundays and Mondays it also opens up to a huge, raucous farmer's market where smaller quantities are available for purchase.  Sunday is the day of the freshest food and the largest number of vendors.  And I'm going to cross more than half the city to get there - I've moved since the last blog, and my new house, on the slopes of the river valley is further away than the old one on the high plain.  I promise to take many pictures of this - particularly close to the High Holy days, the Mayorista is alive with vendors and there will be special sections cordoned off for sales of bacalao, truly enormous squashes, and if it follows the previous years' trends, a festival of Hornado (about which more later).  Apart from mangoes, which are just finishing up their season, it is harvest time across the country, and the Mayorista will be well stocked with all manner of fruits and vegetables.

      To start us off, I'll demystify one of my teasers a bit.

      The Minion head that peeks out of my cupboard every day belongs to my jar of ChocoListo, the Ecuadorian equivalent of chocolate Ovaltine.  Since I gave up coffee for Lent, it's my go-to morning beverage.  ChocoListo normally comes in the plain white jar with orange lid that you see in front of the Minion; that's now my hot chocolate jar because I just couldn't resist when the company came out with the specialty jars.  I firmly believe that one is never too old to have whimsical things!

    • By therese
      Good morning, y’all, and welcome to the party chez Therese.
      As per the teaser, this week’s foodblog does indeed come to you from Atlanta, where I live with my two children (hereafter known as Girl and Boy) and husband (hereafter known as The Man). Girl is 11, Boy is 14, and The Man is old enough to know better.
      Atlanta’s huge: the total metro population is about 4 million, and there are no physical boundaries to growth like rivers or mountain ranges, so people just keep moving (and commuting) farther and farther out of town. Atlantans can be divided into ITP (inside the perimeter) and OTP (outside the perimeter), the perimeter referring to the interstate freeway that encircles the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods, separating it from outlying suburbs. The politically minded may note that these areas could be designated red and blue. I’ll let you figure out which is which.
      We’re about as ITP as it gets, with home, work, school, and restaurants all in walking distance. The neighborhood’s called Druid Hills, the setting for the play/movie “Driving Miss Daisy”. The houses date from the 1920s, and because Atlanta has so little in the way of “old” buildings the neighborhood’s on the National Register as a Historic District. Charming, sure, buts lots of the houses need some updating, and ours (purchased in 1996) was no exception. So we remodeled last year, including an addition with a new kitchen, and this week’s blog will look at the finished product.
      So, some encouragement for those of you presently involved in kitchen renovation, some ideas for those who are considering it.
      But never mind all that for the moment: What’s for breakfast?

      Dutch babies, that’s what. And even better, these Dutch babies are produced by my children, the aforementioned Girl and Boy. The first picture is right from the oven, the second is after the somewhat messy job of sifting powdered sugar on top. They are delicious (the Dutch babies, I mean, not the children) and a great weekend treat.

      The Man drinks coffee in the morning whereas I prefer tea. He's not up yet, having played poker last night. I'm hoping he makes it out of bed in time for dinner.

      I also eat fruit whereas he prefers, well, anything but fruit. This is not such a bad thing, as it means that I don’t have to share the fruit. Pomegranates are a pain to eat, but not so bad if you’re reading the newspaper at the same time. This one’s from California, but you can also grow them here if you’ve got enough sunshine (which I don’t).
    • By Shelby
      Good morning, everyone and happy Monday!  
      It's me again....that girl from Kansas. 
      This is VERY spur-of-the-moment.  I was sitting here yesterday thinking of all of the canning etc. that I needed to do this week and I thought, well, why not ask you guys if you want to spend the week with me while I do it?  I got the ok from Smithy so away we go!
      This will not be nearly as organized as my first blog was.  But, really, when does a sequel ever measure up to the first?     
      Most of you know all about me--if you missed my first blog you can read it here.
      Nothing much has changed around here.  Same furry babies, same house, same husband  .
      Right now we have field corn planted all around the house.  In the outer fields we have soybeans that were planted after the wheat was harvested.  Sorry for the blur....it was so humid the camera kept fogging up.

      I just came in from the garden.
      I snapped a few pictures....for more (and prettier) pictures you can look in the gardening thread.  I always start out saying that I will not let a weed grow in there.  By August I'm like..."Oh what's a few weeds" lol.
      Here's a total list of what I planted this year:
      7 cucumbers
      8 basil
      23 okra
      4 rows assorted lettuce
      20 peppers-thai, jalapeño, bell, banana
      4 rows peas
      5 cilantro
      1 tarragon
      2 dill
      many many red and white onions
      7 eggplant
      3 rows spinach
      57 tomatoes
      5 cherry tomatoes
      7 rows silver queen sweet corn
      11 squash
      4 watermelon
      2 cantaloupe
      6 pumpkin
      I killed the cantaloupes...and I tried damn hard to kill the squash lol.....sigh...squash bugs came early this year and we sprayed with some kind of stuff.  WOW the plants did not like it, but they've come back and are producing.

      I just love okra flowers

      Found some more smut   

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