Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
purplewiz

eG Foodblog: purplewiz - Eating Well In The Great Flyover

Recommended Posts

Hi, I'm Marcia, and I guess it's pretty obvious that I'm blogging this upcoming week :-).

A little bit about me: I'm 42, married to a wonderful man named Jim, no kids, two cats, and currently living in Colorado Springs, CO. I grew up in northern New Jersey (a small town called Wyckoff, for those who may have heard of it) and previously lived in California in Silicon Valley for almost 10 years before moving here.

So what's the great flyover? To paraphrase the Urban Dictionary, it's the middle class midwest, land that only serves to keep the two coasts apart, which is only "flown over", not visited.

Eating well here has definitely been a unique challenge, but I like to think I've risen to it. It just takes a little more cleverness, determination, and flexibility when the whole area isn't exactly a foodie paradise :-). But we're not without good food, which comes in many different guises!

The teaser picture of my tomatoes symbolizes the challenge for me:

gallery_15557_1141_63518.jpg

I work for my homegrown tomatoes every year, struggling against a climate that people love but tomatoes hate (dry air, cool nights), weather (hail), garden pests (deer and rabbits), and a very short growing season (May 15 – Sept. 15, zone 5). But I do it because I LOVE homegrown tomatoes, and the glory of the late August harvest makes it more than worth it.

I'd planned on blogging about a normal week punctuated by a good friend's house party, but it turns out our deck contractors are doing the deck repairs/refinishing this week (weather permitting), so I expect a certain amount of chaos - besides the house party.

It's getting quite late here, so I'll go into more about what we eat and why later today. Since I'm not exactly an early riser, although if the deck guys start early, so will I :biggrin:.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm very happy to see you blogging, Marcia. I do know where Wyckoff is. What does "zone 5" refer to -- a climatic zone, I figure?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Marcia. What varieties of tomatoes have proven themselves worthy of your efforts? It sounds like you're a tenacious gardener that knows her rewards well. Nothing compares with homegrown tomatoes, no matter how late in the season they arrive. Love 'em!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Marcia, glad to see you blogging. Your tomatos look like they're coming along just fine. Do you have more luck with the heirloom varieties or the usual suspects? I've been growing tomatos up here for the last couple years, to great success for a non-gardener, as long as I don't put them in too early!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm very happy to see you blogging, Marcia. I do know where Wyckoff is. What does "zone 5" refer to -- a climatic zone, I figure?

I can field this one for Marcia. The USDA hardiness zones (clickety) refer to average annual minimum temperatures. In Zone 5, the average annual minimum temperature is -10 to -20 degrees F (-23.4 to -28.8 degrees C).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Plants and cats. What's not to like? I'm looking forward to this. Thanks for blogging!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good Morning!

My weekday breakfasts are usually very dull, and consist of:

gallery_28660_3101_1653.jpg

A cup of cereal, half of which is high protein/high fiber (GoLean Crunch today), and the other half of which is some kind of tastier flake (today it's Safeway Organics 7 Grain Flakes, which is better than I expected it to be).

gallery_28660_3101_17638.jpg

A nice dollop of breakfast protein, usually cottage cheese.

gallery_28660_3101_5457.jpg

And the part of the morning which means everything, my coffee. It's currently It's A Grind Sumatra, with heavy cream and Splenda, but I have some coffee on order which should be arriving sometime this week.

I love breakfast foods, but I'm not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, so most mornings it's more or less the same foods. The coffee is non-negotiable.

Marcia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Bruce (C. sapidus) for fielding the zone question! The hardiness zones are a good guideline for selecting plants that do well in your geographic area. Depending on your own specific microclimate or level of stubbornness, you can often get plants from outside your zone to grow. For awhile we had a dwarf orange tree that produced small but intensely flavored oranges. Of course, we grew it inside in a huge pot.

The tomatoes that do best here are thick-skinned and fleshy - Roma types and cherry tomatoes. I've tried to grow thinner skinned versions, like Early Girl and Beefsteak, and they ended up thick-skinned and tough anyway. From right to left, the three varieties I'm growing this year are: Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes, Viva Italia Romas, and Sugar Snack cherries.

They were in wall o' waters for a couple of weeks. I usually leave them in there until about June 15, but because we had had such unseasonably warm temperatures I took them out a full week early.

This is the rest of the vegetable garden:

gallery_28660_3101_34924.jpg

From top to bottom:

- three zucchini plants

- two mounds of cucumbers

- row of mixed lettuces

- row of cilantro

- row of mesclun greens

- row of green onions

All on drip irrigation.

The lettuces need thinning again, so they're going to feature in dinner tonight :biggrin: .

Jean Blanchard, you'd asked about herbs. Other than the basil I have sage, thyme, chives, and lavender. They all have something in common: they're very strongly scented, which means they're far less attractive to our local garden pests:

gallery_28660_3101_7447.jpg

and

gallery_28660_3101_28253.jpg

I was about 6 feet away from the rabbit when I took that picture, and it's a little hard to see but he's still *lying down*. I took the picture of the deer this morning while I was standing in our front door. You can see that neither of them are the least bit concerned that I'm there.

I put out some sun tea to brew today, too:

gallery_28660_3101_8732.jpg

I make it in a sport bottle because my husband doesn't like iced tea, and while I do like it, I can't drink a half gallon before it turns. So I make a smaller batch every couple of days.

That's the view from our deck, with Blodgett Peak in the background. Don't look too closely at the deck or you will see why it desperately needs restaining! Obviously the deck guys didn't start the restaining today, so I'm going to take the opportunity to run some errands.

Marcia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I put out some sun tea to brew today, too:

gallery_28660_3101_8732.jpg

Can you tell me more about sun tea? I've never had tea made in the sun and am wondering if there's a notable difference between that and the iced tea that I make using a kettle at home. Is there any difference at all?

PS: Unless you make it just for an excuse to take a picture of that glorious view. Then of course, it makes all the difference in the world! :biggrin:


Edited by Pam R (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I put out some sun tea to brew today, too:

gallery_28660_3101_8732.jpg

Can you tell me more about sun tea? I've never had tea made in the sun and am wondering if there's a notable difference between that and the iced tea that I make using a kettle at home. Is there any difference at all?

PS: Unless you make it just for an excuse to take a picture of that glorious view. Then of course, it makes all the difference in the world! :biggrin:

Glad somebody asked about the sun tea... I'm interested in hearing about it, too.

The view is beautiful. I would want to be eating on the deck all the time. That's amazing about the deer.

Blog on!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cute rabbit (even though it's eating your garden!)

And indeed, a wonderful view.

Looking forward to seeing your meals this week! Can you tell us a bit about your cooking, what inspires you, your favorite types of food?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Can you tell me more about sun tea?  I've never had tea made in the sun and am wondering if there's a notable difference between that and the iced tea that I make using a kettle at home.  Is there any difference at all?

Without the marvelous view, we brew sun tea in the South all the time. I use a mason jar with a screw lid (smaller quantities for me as well) Fill with water, add tea bags of choice, screw lid back on, and set on a sunny window or patio for the day. You'll have fresh "brewed" tea by supper time. Remove the tea bags and fill a glass with ice and whatever else you like (lemon, sugar) Actually, it's steeping the tea all day that gives it the flavor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, what kind of tea for sun tea? I do it regularly, even in the winter, on a sill in our sunroom.

Currently, I have a batch of Georgia Sunrise in the fridge; brewed in brillian sunshine yesterday. It's my kids favorite.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was growing up, we were told sun tea was better because the long slow brewing time and the gentle heat of the sun's rays made for a less bitter brew. Honestly, I can't taste a difference at all :laugh:! I make sun tea because it's so easy: tea bags, cold water, set it out in the sun and forget about it for a couple of hours. I figured as long as I was taking a picture of the sun tea, I might as well include some scenery!

This is what the tea looked like when I brought it in:

gallery_28660_3101_14611.jpg

Today's tea is Lipton Green Tea Orange, Passionfruit, and Jasmine. I'm not as fond of it as hot tea, but Lipton's Green Teas make dandy iced tea. I also really love their mint tea iced.

Like breakfast, today's lunch is very typical:

gallery_28660_3101_29969.jpg

A deli meat chicken and cheese "handwich", and some broccoli with dip - today's dip is Marie's Super Blue Cheese dressing, to which I am hopelessly addicted. Sometimes there are also cauliflower florets, but last week the grocery store was out of the mixed bag, so I just bought broccoli.

I'm off to start dinner prep, and Chufi, thanks for asking, I'm planning to go into more about cooking and the like this evening when I'm not trying to do too many things at once!

Marcia.

edited because spelling suffers when you're in a rush


Edited by purplewiz (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't even know how to make ice tea any other way but in the sun. needless to say that I don't get ice tea in the winter!

good to see you blogging Marcia!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't even know how to make ice tea any other way but in the sun. needless to say that I don't get ice tea in the winter!

It's called a kettle :laugh: .

thanks for the explanations. I keep a 2 L pitcher of iced tea going in the fridge - but I use the electric kettle to boil the water, pour it over 4 tea bags (usually tazo passion) and leave it for a couple of hours.

I need to get a jar and wait for a sunny day to compare the two!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Happy bloggin', Marcia!

I'm a big long-time fan of sun tea myself, so imagine my dismay when, inspired by the conversation here, I decided to Google for additional info on the stuff ... and turned up the following:

"Sun tea" (tea brewed by being left to steep in sunlight) can harbor dangerous bacteria

Now I have to say, I have been brewing herbal sun tea for literally years, and have never seen any such signs of bacterial contamination as described in the linked article, nor have I ever gotten sick from the stuff. And I'm probably not going to alter my sun tea routine one whit. But anyway, there's the info, for whatever it may be worth. :unsure:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hate to rain on your sun tea, (I grew up on it in Tn.) but from what i have been told by those in authority at Upton Tea Importers, the main reason sun tea turns is the median temp of the tea is conducive to bacterial growth(it sits there for a while at a warm temp). Cold brewing is less likely to turn as quick. (I drink 1.5 gal. of tea a week in the summer).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

mizducky, thanks for the link on the potential hazards of sun tea. I especially liked this one:

Discard tea if it appears thick or syrupy. Those ropy strands are bacteria.

No kiddin'. :blink:

I'm afraid that sun tea is one of those risks I'm just going to keep on taking. I do wash the bottle well with a scrubby thingie between batches because the tea sediment sticks down there, and maybe that's why I've been ok.

Marcia.


Edited by purplewiz (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:blink:

Umm.. I think I may stick with my method!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dinner!

I thought I'd highlight one our best local foods with dinner tonight: bison. I'm fortunate that Black Forest Bison is just down the road.

gallery_28660_3101_35916.jpg

They were not comfortable with me taking pictures inside the store without the owners being there, so I didn't take any, but there are a couple of the interior on this page.

All of their bison is flash frozen, but it defrosts very quickly in cold water. I bought two NY steaks for dinner tonight:

gallery_28660_3101_34108.jpg

Bison is VERY lean, so it cooks more like chicken than beef. It's also very easy to overcook and turn into shoe leather.

I also bought some bison jerky for snacking:

gallery_28660_3101_16366.jpg

Don't look too closely or you'll see the bite out of that piece. It was wonderful :biggrin: .

I preheated the grill on high to get the cast iron grates nice and hot, then turned it down for awhile before putting the steaks on the grill, and cooked them about three minutes a side.

gallery_28660_3101_20231.jpg

The steak is topped with a coin of chive flower butter (butter, chive flowers, salt, pepper) and some lavender sea salt.

Served up with a portobello mushroom filled with pesto and grilled until soft...a little too soft because the sides were starting to collapse. The pesto is homemade from a year or so ago. I freeze what I call "protopesto" - basil, garlic, walnuts (my husband doesn't like pinenuts) and just enough olive oil to hold it together - in ice cube trays. When I'm ready to use it I defrost the appropriate number of cubes, add more olive oil to get the consistency I need and add parmesan cheese - in this case, I topped the mushrooms with it.

A bite picture:

gallery_28660_3101_20422.jpg

Dinner also included by a tossed salad.

gallery_28660_3101_43150.jpg

A number of times in the Dinner! thread I've mentioned that I didn't include a picture of my tossed salads because they're rather unphotogenic. Now you know why. This one was prettied up and arranged for the camera, and I still managed to miss the lettuces hanging over the side. At least the lettuces were homegrown, fresh from the garden!

Dessert was a square of Lindt 70% chocolate (those are Jim's fingers):

gallery_28660_3101_7497.jpg

and a chocolate-raspberry soda made from Torani sugar free chocolate and raspberry syrups. Jim had a vanilla-raspberry soda.

gallery_28660_3101_23127.jpg

Marcia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, georgeous food porn; that buffalo looks too tasty! :laugh: Love your avitar, is (s)he as sweet as (s)he looks, or is (s)he the kitty from hell in disguise? :laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Love your avitar, is (s)he as sweet as (s)he looks, or is (s)he the kitty from hell in disguise? :laugh:

My avatar is Oreo, and he's 17 lbs of pure doofus :biggrin: .

I had planned to post some cat pictures this evening, but in the grand tradition of the unexpected happening during one's foodblog, my digital camera died tonight. Fortunately, it died after the dinner photography, but in plenty of time to get a replacement. Now I just have to get comfortable with the new one....and of course I'm going to be testing it out on cat pictures!

Marcia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By Mullinix18
      I'm thinking about starting a blog featuring the recipes of antoine Carême that I've translated from 1700s French? No English versions of his works exist and his work is hard to find, even though he is the greatest chef who ever lived. After I get through his works I'd add menon, la Varenne, and other hard to find, but historically important masters of French cuisine. 
    • By Duvel
      Prologue:
       
      Originally, we intended to spend this Chinese New Year in Hong Kong. We have travelled a lot last year and will need to attend a wedding already next month in Germany, so I was happy to spend some quiet days at home (and keep the spendings a bit under control as well). As a consequence, we had not booked any flights in the busiest travel time of the year in this region …
       
      But – despite all good intentions – I found myself two weeks ago calling the hotline of my favourite airline in the region, essentially cashing in on three years of extensive business travel and checking where I could get on short notice over CNY on miles. I was expecting a laughter on the other side of the line but this is the one time my status in their loyalty reward program paid out big time: three seats for either Seoul or Kansai International (earliest morning flights, of course). No need to choose, really – Kyoto, here we come !
       

    • By Tara Middleton
      Alright so as of a few months ago, I decided to take an impromptu trip to Europe--mostly unplanned but with several priorities set in mind: find the best food and locate the most game-changing ice cream spots on the grounds of each city I sought out for. One of the greatest, most architecturally unique and divine cities I have visited thus far has gotta be Vienna, Austria. But what in the heck is there to eat over there?! (you might ask). 'Cause I sure as hell didn't know. So, I desperately reached out to a local Viennese friend of mine, who knows and understands my avid passion for all things edible, and she immediately shot back some must-have food dishes. Doing a bit of research beforehand, I knew I had to try the classic "Kasekreiner". Please forgive my German if I spelled that wrong. But no matter how you say it- say it with passion, because passion is just about all I felt when I ate it. Translated: it basically means cheese sausage. Honestly, what is there not to love about those two words. Even if that's not necessarily your go-to, do me a favor and give it a shot. Trust me, you won't regret it. A classic Austrian pork sausage with pockets of melty cheese, stuffed into a crisp French Baguette. No ketchup necessary (...and as an American, that's saying a lot). YUM. Best spot to try out this one-of-a-kind treat?! Bitzinger bei der Albertina – Würstelstand. Now here's a shot of me with my one true love in front of this classic Viennese green-domed building-- Karlskirche. Now, go check it.
       
       

    • By KennethT
      OK, I'm back, by popular demand! hehe....  After being back for 2 days, I'm still struggling with crazy jetlag and exhaustion - so please bear with me!
       
      This year, for our Asian adventure, we went to Bali, which for those who don't know, is one of the islands in Indonesia.  Bali is a very unique place - from its topology, to the people, language, customs, religion and food.  Whereas the majority of people in Indonesia are Muslim, most people in Bali are Balinese Hindu, which from what I understand is a little like Indian Hinduism, but has more ancestor worship.  Religion is very important to many people in Bali - there are temples everywhere, and at least in one area, there are religious processions through the street practically every day - but we'll get to that later.
       
      Bali has some food unique to it among its Indonesian neighbors, but like everywhere, has seen quite a bit of immigration from other Indonesian islands (many from Java, just to the west) who have brought their classic dishes with them.
       
      Basically all Indonesians speak Indonesian, or what they call Bahasa Indonesia, or just Bahasa, which, anyone who has read my prior foodblogs wouldn't be surprised to hear that I learned a little bit just before the trip.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to use any of it, except a couple times which were totally unnecessary.  When speaking with each other, most people in Bali speak Balinese (totally different from bahasa) - many times when I tried using my bahasa, they smiled and replied, and then tried to teach me the same phrase in Balinese!  As time went on, and I used some of the Balinese, I got lots of surprised smiles and laughs - who is this white guy speaking Balinese?!?  Seriously though, tourism has been in Bali for a very long time, so just about everyone we encountered spoke English to some degree.  Some people spoke German as well, as they supposedly get lots of tourists from Germany.  As one of our drivers was telling us, Bali is heavily dependent on tourism as they have no real industry other than agriculture, which doesn't pay nearly as well as tourism does.
       
      While there are beaches all around the island, most of the popular beach areas are in the south of the island, and those areas are the most highly touristed.  We spent very little time in the south as we are not really beach people (we get really bored) and during planning, decided to stay in less touristed areas so we'd have more opportunities for local food... this didn't work out, as you'll see later.
       
      So, it wouldn't be a KennethT foodblog without photos in the Taipei airport and I-Mei Dim Sum, which we called home for about 4 hours before our connection to Bali...
       
      Beef noodle soup:

       
      The interior:

       
      This was the same as always - huge pieces of beef were meltingly tender.  Good bite to the thick chewy noodles.
       
      Xie long bao (soup dumplings) and char siu bao (fluffy barbeque pork buns):

    • By KennethT
      Recently, there was a thread about stir frying over charcoal, which immediately brought to mind memories of eating in Bangkok in July 2013.  At that time, I hadn't gotten into the habit of writing food blogs, and considering that I had some spare time this weekend (a rarity) I figured I would put some of those memories down on paper, so to speak.  Back then, neither my wife nor I were in the habit of taking tons of photos like we do nowadays, but I think I can cobble something together that would be interesting to folks reading it.
       
      In the spirit of memories, I'll first go back to 2006 when my wife and I took our honeymoon to Thailand (Krabi, Bangkok and Chiang Mai), Singapore and Hanoi.  That was our first time to Asia, and to be honest, I was a little nervous about it.  I was worried the language barrier would be too difficult to transcend, or that we'd have no idea where we were going.  So, to help mitigate my slight anxiety, I decided to book some guides for a few of the locations.  Our guides were great, but we realized that they really aren't necessary, and nowadays with internet access so much more prevalent, even less necessary.
       
      Prior to the trip, when emailing with our guide in Bangkok to finalize plans, I mentioned that we wanted to be continuously eating (local food, I thought was implied!)  When we got there, I realized the misunderstanding when she opened her trunk to show us many bags of chips and other snack foods.. whoops...  Anyway, once the misconception was cleared up, she took us to a noodle soup vendor:


      On the right is our guide, Tong, who is now a very famous and highly sought after guide in BKK.... at the time, we were among here first customers.  I had a chicken broth based noodle soup with fish ball, fish cake and pork meatball, and my wife had yen ta fo, which is odd because it is bright pink with seafood.  I have a lime juice, and my wife had a longan juice.
       
      This is what a lot of local food places look like:

       
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×