Wednesday, September 17, 2008

one dollar bacon

super saver at 48th & o has best choice pre-cooked bacon for a dollar a 2.1 oz package. probably so cheap because it's dated 9/23-- but still, i won't have any problem going through this package before then.

Monday, September 15, 2008

farmers' market salad: baby romaine and pea shoots

i went to the farmers' market a little late on sunday... still managed to get some shoots and baby romaine from shadowbrook. stopped by red clover for some tempeh, where i also picked up some new salad dressing from bragg's, a sesame ginger flavor that has a complete amino profile. did i mention the local tomatoes? i know i didn't leave out the cooked brown rice.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

wise oven bakery, havelock

so this place has strange hours and great bread. i think it's the only green olive loaf in town.

it's also hard to find. you have to walk through against the wall art gallery to get there.

hours are listed on the label in the picture: wednesday, thursday and saturday from three to six. you could make the most of a trip to havelock if you went on a wednesday night, when you could also go to the farmers' market and pepe's.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

take-out review: pepe's

ever since i read about pepe's in the ground zero, i've wanted to go. if you read the article, you'll want to go too. havelock, my favorite neighborhood in this town, is not that convenient for me to get to at lunch. so my friends and i went for dinner last thursday... and it turns out they're not open for dinner on thursdays, like it says they are in that ljs piece. dinner only on wednesdays, which happens to be the night of the havelock farmers' market (which runs from 3 to 6:30).

so today i had to go pick up lunch. the interior is lovely. fabulous exposed brick, lots of windows, fresh flowers and potted herbs on the tables. the tables also all have books on them about sustainable food and design. this place would fit right in napa valley... if it weren't affordable and unpretentious.

the menu changes daily depending on what produce is available. this order of black bean and vegetable tacos was 4.50 and delicious.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

farmers' market favorite of the week: kohlrabi

there was a lot of kohlrabi at the farmers' market sunday, and it was cheap! this huge bulb was huge and well-trimmed and one dollar.

you can cook kohlrabi, and i might try some stuffed baked kohlrabi soon... but i prepared this one my favorite, easy way. i just peeled (the skin is less than a quarter-inch thick, and this bulb was the size of two fists) and sliced it, and shared it along with some other snacks. in-season kohlrabi has a fresh, light crunchy texture; and mild flavor. (and it's very good for you.)

tangential points of interest: my guesses about the etymology of the name didn't even touch on germany, but that's what it says on wikipedia, so it must be true. also, doesn't that look like a face where the stem was cut? i can't put my finger on who it resembles. it might be robert downey, jr in tropic thunder. (you can click on the picture to see more detail.)

actually, in this picture, the whole bulb itself looks like a deranged triceratops character from sanrio. have they even done dinosaurs yet? not in the brand's traditional cutesy form, as far as i can tell, but a google search of 'sanrio' and 'dinosaur' did lead to this eye-candy i'll share with you.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

green beans, sesame sticks, and steam

when i make green beans, i like to use bacon and shallots. that wouldn't have worked when i recently got a bagful of garden-fresh green beans (thanks, once again, to the green thumbs around me), with a vegan dinner to go to the next night.

i wrote about sesame sticks in salads recently; and i thought i'd try them here, braised with the green beans in some ginger citrus dressing, and then steamed with just enough water to be absorbed by the crunchy sesame sticks. (i threw some hot peppers in as well, chopped large enough to be avoided on the fork and also sink to the bottom of the pan before this picture was taken at lid-off.)

honestly, i'd thought the sticks would break down to a texture like tvp in the cooking process, but they didn't. however, they had a similar size and complementary (spelling intended) color to the beans, so that was a lucky accident. this was salty enough that i'd mix it with some rice next time, though i didn't hear much complaining.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

let us have bread and chocolate

i've seen these chocolate bars for a while now at the mill, and i finally broke down and bought one. dark chocolate with rather salty bits of baguette. very nice flavor. this doesn't appear to be selling as well as the other flavors. more for me? because i am going to buy this again.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

now it's rice cake croutons

my old favorite: broccoli slaw! now with crumbled rice cakes as croutons.

i tossed some yellow tomatoes and lilac peppers in with the slaw, and dressed with some ginger citrus dressing. then, about a half-hour before the salad would be served, tossed in some crumbled rice cakes. shooting for their absorption of dressing making them not too crunchy, not too soggy.

and yes, i made the salad in a ziploc bag, since it needed to be portable. that worked out well for transport; but if you try this, you have to ask for a bowl to serve it in when you get there.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

purple pepper preparation

make this three times real fast!

so, purple peppers (called lilac peppers, and i've written about them before) are unusual looking peppers; until you cut them up and put them in a salad, when they take on the appearance of red cabbage--with a very different flavor, of course, but they've lost their visual punch. so, i recommend using them for stuffed peppers, if you want whomever you're serving to realize what they're getting.

which i'll remember for next time.

by the way, these were 75c each at the farmers' market, so that's cheaper than green bells at the grocery store right now.

the other thing i was looking for at the farmers' market, and what i bought instead

i was looking for the yellow cherry tomatoes in the bottom picture, which go for 3.50 a container. but, like i said below, i got there at noon and they were sold out.

another vendor had those peach tomatoes in the photo up top. i think people passed them by because they thought they were sickly-looking peaches (compared to the other ones at the market)... not a yellow tomato with a blush and a good flavor.

they didn't work in the recipe the same way that the cherry tomatoes would have, with their different structure, but the flavor made me remember what tomatoes can taste like. those six tomatoes cost $2.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

my favorite thing from the farmers' market this week: heads of baby romaine lettuce

so i didn't get to the market until noon on sunday, and the two things i had intended to buy were sold out. the shadowbrook stand was out of pea shoots-- which didn't surprise me since i was running late-- but they did have something i hadn't noticed there before. full heads of baby romaine lettuce, about the size of an adult hand.

to use them in a way that maximized their small size, i chose a flavor inspired by the lettuce-wrapped snack you might have had in thai restaurants. i soaked the heads in cold water to release any lingering dirt or critters (i found very little), then took off the outer leaves which i reserved for later use. in another bowl, i mixed together a couple of chopped peaches and half a diced onion with equal parts sriracha and agave nectar. after that mixture (bottom picture) sat for about an hour, i stuffed some into these little heads of lettuce (top picture).

this turned out remarkably well, for taking such shortcuts with technique in creating the flavor. (i wish i had had some chopped peanuts for this.) the structure of the small head of romaine makes a perfect delivery device for whatever filling you choose. i'm going to buy these again to experiment further.