Monthly Archives: October 2011

Uninspired

I realize that I’ve been missing from here more than usual lately.  Every time I move locations, I get confused, so being back down south for a while threw me for a loop.  I had gotten settled and comfortable with my farmer’s market routine up here, so the southern migration meant I was scrambling for food I wanted to eat.  I’m finally back, but missed the farmer’s market here, so still feeling uninspired.

This whole uninspired feeling prompted two trips to the co-op, two days in a row.  The first day was really a survival shopping trip since my fridge was completely empty save a half gallon of water and some nuts.  Today, was more of a meandering what-do-I-want-to-eat kind of shopping trip.  Spurred on by boredom…not going to lie.

After my trip yesterday, I was feeling lazy, tired, and bored.  So, for dinner, I defaulted to eggs and bacon.  I needed some veggies, so I roasted some brussel sprouts with ghee in a frying pan.  This is absolutely the tastiest way to eat brussel sprouts.  When I first found out about eating brussel sprouts this way, we used butter.  I ate this meal for breakfast, too.

Sorry about the fork in the photo.  I had already started eating when I realized I should take a photo.

So how do you make these tasty brussel sprouts?

Wash and cut your brussel sprouts in half.

Melt some butter or ghee in a frying pan over medium heat.  It’s the buttery goodness that you need, so go with the butter or ghee.  It’s not as tasty with olive oil.  I tried.

Place your brussel sprouts cut side down in one layer on the frying pan.  Watch the sprouts carefully.  You’ll see the edges darken in color.  When they get dark green, flip them over.  You should see the cut sides looking a little browned.

For extra tastiness, sprinkle some shredded parmigiano reggiano.  You won’t be able to resist eating all of the brussel sprouts.

 

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Japanese Radishes

Remember those Japanese radishes that I bought from market on Saturday?  Well, the farmer that sold them to me advised that I sauté them in oil with garlic and sage.  He advised that the sage go in the oil before I put in the radishes.

So, doing my best not to be a total lazy butt, I did a quick run this morning and included my cousin’s place in my loop.  The reason for that was so I could harvest some of her sage.  I felt all sneaky.  Luckily there was nobody around.   I have prior approval, so it’s not like I was being sneaky, but it’s always weird when you go to someone’s place when they aren’t around.

Well, sage in tow, I walked back and began the cooking experiment.

We started by mincing the garlic, I used one big clove, and slicing the sage.

Then, I dumped them into some warmed up olive oil and let the garlic get toasty looking.

As that toasted up, I began slicing the radishes in earnest.  I can never slice fast enough when I’m cooking.  I should just be more patient and do all my slicing first and then cook at once, but I’m so impatient that I try to save time by slicing and cooking.  It probably doesn’t save me any time at all.  No matter.  I left the skin on my radishes.  I don’t know if you were supposed to peel them like potatoes or not, but I figured the “regular” red radishes that you buy usually just go straight into a salad, so no peeling needed.  Into the pan they went.

A little later, they looked like this:

I added some pepper and salt as you can see above.  I forgot to add those two main players initially, but here they are.  Then, I chopped up the radish leaves and added them at the end and cooked until they were wilted.

I had this with some ground lamb that I had already cooked up and was in the fridge (see Mix and Match…hot and cold…yeah I’m a weirdo, that’s why this blog is called Funny Eater.).

So, my verdict on this dish.  It’s different from what I usually eat, so I like the variety.  I’m not sure about the taste of sage.   It’s got a sort of woodland smell that I can’t really describe.   I think it would be better with some other spices, but I’m going to have to figure out what at a later point in time.

Either way, try it out, vary it up, and let me know what you think.

Cheers!


Mix and Match

I wish I had the time to really cook.  To try out the millions of recipes that I’ve bookmarked in a folder called, “Recipes to try.”  I’ve all but stopped reading a lot of food blogs because they make me hungry and they make me want to eat things that I wouldn’t consider eating in real life.  All this means is that those food bloggers are quite good at what they do.  🙂

Despite the time crunch in my life, I do need to eat and eating well is very important to me.  As you may (or may not) know, I do pretty much all of my food shopping at the local farmer’s market.  I supplement that with some shopping at a local co-op.  The grocery store has been relegated to the end of the line and I usually go once or twice a month for things like bottled water, nuts, and the like.  Basically, pantry items are all that I get from the grocery store and since I’m not eating many things that would sit in a pantry, I have no real reason to visit the grocery store other than I need to buy water.  (Please don’t groan or tell me about all the plastic that is being used, I am a big fan of people drinking their tap water, but the water here makes me sick…so much to my chagrin I’m drinking bottled water.)

I digress.  The problem with blog writing for me is that I can get started with the idea to write one thing and then a bunch of other offshoots pop up and before you know it the top of my blog posts are all these tangents from my original intention.  Maybe I should put a disclaimer at the top of my posts, “Please skip down to the bottom half if you aren’t interested in my divergent ramblings.”

Okay, back to what I wanted to write about.  So, food, it’s important that I eat and I don’t eat out.  (I’m tempted to go off another tangent here, but I won’t.)  My method for keeping myself fed and relatively entertained when it comes to food is to mix and match.  (Finally, we’ve arrived at the topic of this post.)  What this means is that after I go to the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, I wash all my vegetables, toss the proteins in the fridge for refrigeration/defrosting, and get cooking.

I cook my vegetables all separately and then my meats separately.  Sometimes, if I’m inspired, I might combine the two, but keeping my proteins and vegetables separate is part of the mix and match method.  I try to go for color and variety with the vegetables and I try for variety with the proteins.  Then during the week, I mix and match my vegetables and proteins for each meal.  Usually, I look in the fridge at my foods and figure out which items call to me.  Then I put them in a bowl and eat away.

Let’s take a look at an example from this morning’s masterpiece special.

So, the presentation could have been a little more spruced up, I admit, but this is pretty fancy for me.  You don’t want to see what the usual mix and match special of the day looks like.

In the photo, the middle is half a roasted acorn squash filled with sauteed ground rabbit and onions, surrounded by purple (or is it red?) kale and onions, topped with dollops of harvest pumpkin chèvre.

This is a fancier mix and match than I usually do, but I was inspired this morning.  Usually, a vegetable and a protein and I’m good to go.

So what other things do I have on my mix and match list for this week?

Cauliflower.  I made this using a recipe I developed on the fly one evening when a friend came over for dinner.  I’ll share details with you at some point, but as in true Funny Eater style, I just go for it and don’t have exact measurements for you.  If I ever wrote a cookbook (which would be unlikely given my penchant for abstract measurements), it would probably have a list of ingredients and then vague directions about how much and when.

Moving on.  Red Russian Kale.  The only downfall to my mix and match method is that I usually use either onions or garlic or both for all my dishes and so I end up with a lot of onion and garlic.  I have been trying to figure out ways to cut them out, but they are just too darn convenient.  One of  these days.

Oddly enough, the kale looks very green.  I promise this time I’m giving you the right name.  It actually has some purple streaks at the stems when they are uncooked.

In addition to the acorn squash, I also roasted some spaghetti squash this week.

And you already met the purple kale.

I don’t have any pictures of the rabbit meat.  I forgot to take one and I’m too lazy to walk the 10 feet to my refrigerator and pull it out for a picture.

With meat, I usually end up cooking a dish or two in the middle of the week.  Meat tastes better freshly cooked, so I don’t tend to cook it all at one time.  I also will cook a filet of fish en papillote for dinner now and then.  So the protein cooking is usually a few times a week and ends up being whatever I feel like.

In addition to meat and fish, I usually keep a good stock of eggs around for meals.  Eggs are easy protein and I love them.  Bacon is also another easy protein and gets me my fats, too.  (Just keep an eye on what’s in the bacon when you buy it.  I buy nitrate/nitrite free bacon from Applegate Farms usually.  Still working on trying to source bacon from a farmer’s market vendor.)

So there you have it.  My sort of haphazard weekly meal planning.  I’m sure I’ve confused you more than help or inspired you, so feel free to post comments asking questions if you need some straightening out.

Cheers!


To market, to market, to buy…

all sorts of yummy things!

This week’s market haul is not as much as usual.  It’s a short week and it was rainy and cold out today.  I still enjoyed the market though.  I almost prefer it to be not the best weather because then the market is a bit emptier and I get to take my time and talk to the vendors as I shop.  Although, the poor vendors are freezing and wet outside.  At least it stopped raining by the time I left.

So what did I buy this week?

Russian Red Kale….it’s taking a bubble bath in the picture below.  I know, it’s a slightly scandalous photo, but all my vegetables take bubble baths in vegetable wash and cold water.

Next, more kale, this time Red Kale.  The photo is a bit blurry.  The kale wouldn’t stop fidgeting.

Then we have some spaghetti squash and the ever stealthy acorn squash brooding in the background here.

My something new this week is Japanese Radish.  First the leaves.  (I forgot to take a photo when the radishes where whole.)

Along with the radishes themselves, we also have some purple (or maybe they call it red) scallions.

That wraps up the veggie portion of this tour.  Next, it was a trip to get some ground rabbit and goat meat.  I don’t think I updated last week, but I tried the goat meat and it was fantastic.  It has a more buttery taste than rabbit and it’s great when you dump in some spices.  (Don’t ask me what spices I dumped in…I should really keep track, but I didn’t call this blog Funny Eater for nothing.)

Next up, the dairy portion of our tour.  Stopped to buy my favorite yogurts.  I also bought a jar of quark today (not pictured).  It will go well with my roasted squash.

Please excuse the clutter in the back of my fridge.

Finally, cheese!  I pretty much gave up on the whole strict paleo thing since I really like the yogurts above and these cheeses.  I’ve actually eaten these cheeses straight out of their tubs.  Don’t tell anyone that I do that…it’s kind of gross.

Some cheddar curds.  If you remember back to my post about paleo pizza (well, flatbread), I used the garlic and herb ones for the top.  Today, I went with the plain ones.  Eating paleo (I guess, it’s more accurate to say primal now) makes you really appreciate flavors.

And the grand finale, is the chevre.  Today, we were treated to a white pepper and thyme flavor and I got harvest pumpkin, which is currently my favorite.  (As in I definitely eat it straight out of the tub sometimes.)  Since we’re not doing crackers, I use the chevre in my salads.

After the market, I stopped by the co-op to buy some maple syrup and vanilla to make these paleo maple, pumpkin custards from Health Bent.  Health Bent has some great recipes that I’ve used in the past, so I’m excited about these custards.

Now, that I’ve taken my photos, washed my veggies, chopped my onions and scallions, I’m ready for a nap.  This rainy weather is the kind of weather that needs a cup of tea and some random staring out the window.

I’m going to need to muster up some cooking energy so I can be ready for this week.

PS I have a lot of catch up which I hope will happen sooner rather than later, but I make no guarantees.


Whoopsies!!

So I knew in my head that what I bought at the farmer’s market last week was not bok choi, even though it really did look like it.  I just figured it was a different variety of bok choi.  That’s actually probably true.  However, the real name of the green is tatsoi.  This is what I get for not paying attention and not asking the guy at the farm stand again what I bought.  Anyway, corrections have been made to the last two posts.

If you’re curious, check this out: Tatsoi.

My apologies for leading you all astray.  It shall not happen again…if I can help it.  🙂


A Day of Cooking

This is my catch up post, which I titled yesterday, but never wrote.  So, here goes.

Yesterday, I managed to do a lot of cooking (what this really means was that I was feeling under the weather and feeling avoidant…then again, I pretty much feel avoidant every day of the week…hmm.).  First, I tackled the cabbage.  I managed to cook up a batch of Nom Nom Paleo’s World’s Best Braised Cabbage.  Now, my pictures are no where near as pretty as hers, but this is what my prep looked like.  (Oh, PS, I made some modifications…are you surprised??)

After setting the oven for 325 degrees Fahrenheit, the first issue was to determine what I was going to use for fat.  I realized I had a recently neglected bit of duck fat left and that’s what I used.  I probably did not have the required 1/4 cup of fat, but no matter, I used the fat that I had to grease my Pyrex baking dish and for the recipe itself.  The fat actually did not melt fast enough for my liking and I ended up just smearing the softened fat onto my cabbage sections…yup, that’s me, impatient and weird.  It worked out, you’ll see.  So my left over duck fat.

Duck fat is great.  The container says to use in place of butter.  I’m not entirely sure about that, but duck fat smells like a crispy roasted duck to me and it’s a great fat to use.  Gives dishes a bit of subtle flavor.  I like it best for my veggies, but it works for just about everything.  (Don’t hold me to that last part…it’s mostly speculation.)

In case you have no idea what a greased pan looks like, I present to you my greased Pyrex baking dish.  If you don’t have Pyrex in your kitchen, you should.  It works in just about every cooking situation, they now come with plastic covers, and you can buy them at Target.  What more can you ask for?  Plus, glass is the way to go.

After greasing my Pyrex with my chunk of duck fat, I proceeded to wrestle with the green cabbage using my one and only trusty kitchen knife.  I do own two smaller colored knives, but those are for peeling fruit and small jobs.  I’m pretty sure this cabbage would have broken those knives, which would have made me quite irritated.  Anyway, my trusty kitchen knife managed to get me through, but it was a tough time involving a lot of muscle and force.

I did manage to eventually make the cabbage look like this:

As you can see, not a whole lot of space in there.  I ended up taking out one slice from the line up and that lone chunk of cabbage is now sitting raw in my fridge.  I’ll have to figure out something else for that piece.

Using my trusty Himalayan salt (I love the pink color), some fresh ground black pepper, and some chili pepper powder (I didn’t have any flakes and I wasn’t about to expand my nightshade stash.), I spiced up my cabbages.

The cabbages along with the red onions and carrots before heading into the oven:

I actually used more than one carrot.  I had probably three or four left of the short, fat, stubby variety that needed to be used, so I dumped them all in.  I also felt lazy and just put them in peel and all.  (I did wash them very well, I’m not that much of a weirdo.)

After more than two hours of oven time, the final product came out looking like this:

My taste test verdict: The cabbage was quite good.  It’s even good cold from the fridge (I tried it that way today…I’m too lazy to heat things up usually…yes, I know it’s called a microwave, but I don’t really like them).

I actually enjoyed making this, save the wrestling with the cabbage to get it into wedges, because having this going in the oven left me to do other things in the kitchen and I felt really productive.  I managed to get all my greens washed and a bunch of them cooked.

While the cabbage was going…

I washed and chopped my rainbow chard for a stir fry.

I usually use onions in my stir fries, but my last onion went to the braised cabbage dish, so I did a quick olive oil with a dash of salt and pepper and the chard came out wonderfully.  You can really taste the chard, which I like.  I had to cook it in batches, which really highlighted the different colors.

Here is red.

Then there is yellow.

And then everything all together.  There were more than just red and yellow, but those were the dominant colors in the bunch.  As you can see, I’m using my 9×9 Pyrex baking dish here as a storage vessel.  It has a top that snaps on making it easy to toss in the fridge.  (I guess today is my Pyrex plug day.)

I also washed up my red Russian Kale, which I did not cook, but after letting it dry a bit, I put in a big plastic bag for future use.

While I was doing this, I was also hungry for lunch, so I fried up a duck egg.  I went with my “dud” green egg, which was not really a dud, just different looking.  The one thing I noticed about duck eggs is that they have a huge yolk and a very thin consistency to the whites.  I like the way it fries up.  It makes over easy very easy to accomplish, since the yolk is so huge.

I ended up eating my duck egg with some fresh chopped Japanese mustard greens.

After my quick lunch, the braised cabbage was still going.  While I was putting my freshly washed greens away, I spotted the leftover cauliflower and decided to take advantage of an already heated up oven, and threw these guys in with some olive oil, salt, and pepper into the oven after the braised cabbage was done.  Initially, I wanted to add these to the oven, but I couldn’t really maneuver everything, so I settled for after.  Either way, I saved on the impatience of waiting for this oven to heat up.  (I really am not a fan of electric.)

For dinner, I stir fried some of the tatsoi in sesame oil with some chopped garlic.  I put the chopped garlic into the warmed up sesame oil and let the garlic toast a bit before I dump in the tatsoi.  Tastes better that way.  I also add some salt and black pepper to taste.

I always think of shrimp and bok choi going together and since tatsoi is not really that different from bok choi, I dug out some shrimp from my freezer and pan fried them.  What I did was salt and pepper them generously and place in a warm pan of olive oil.  Then I put a lid on them to steam them up for a couple of minutes and then flip them and finish off the cooking.  Here they are on top of the tatsoi.

As you can see, my shrimp are quite peppery looking and they taste very good this way, so try it sometime.

So that was my day of food yesterday.  While we’re at it, I think I’m just going to update you on today.  I don’t know when I’m going to be back with more posts, since I’m supposed to be studying.  I suspect it won’t be too long, but you never know.

Today’s recap is pretty short.

Breakfast was a huge salad of chopped Japanese mustard greens, stir fried rainbow chard, and roasted cauliflower topped with a pan fried duck egg.  Yum!

This photo is making me hungry.

Moving on, we have my little experiment with rabbit meat.  Since I don’t have any onions and I wasn’t sure I wanted to use garlic because I thought it would overpower the rabbit meat, I cooked the ground rabbit in olive oil with salt, black pepper, and a dash of coriander.  I was going through my spices and coriander called to me.  I have no idea why.  After the rabbit meat was cooked, I turned off the heat and dumped in some chopped Japanese mustard greens and moved things around until the greens were wilted, but still vibrantly green.  Tasty!

So, this ended up being lunch with some roasted cauliflower to amp up the vegetable factor.

Dinner was the same as yesterday – left over bok choi and shrimp.

As for desserts and snacks…I had my pumpkin yogurt, which was tasty, but I think I was hoping for more of a pumpkin pie taste.  The good thing is that it wasn’t sweet, so I might be willing to buy more than two yogurts this coming week at the farmer’s market.  I felt like such a scrooge only buying two yogurts yesterday.

The last issue is that of chocolate.  I’m running out and although I think I should probably forget about buying any for the time being, I’m thinking that either I can go and buy it in a planned fashion, or I can wait until I’m raving mad for chocolate and buy it in a chocolate craving induced frenzy.  I’m thinking the first option is the better choice.

Off I go…I hope everyone has a great week!

PS I just tried to post this and got an error message and nearly fainted at the thought that I might have to write this post all over again from scratch!  Oh the horror!  Luckily, all that was missing was the last line and the tags. Phew!!


Chilly, Rainy Morning

I woke up today to gray skies and rain.  Autumn has officially hit us here in the last three days.  The change over from beautifully blue, sunny skies with white puffy clouds to autumn has been one filled with big fat drops of rain and gusting winds.  I don’t mind the stormy weather too much since right now I have the option of staying in if I want to.

I did not stay in this morning though.  I put on my trusty rain boots, hauled out my trusty golf umbrella made for two (it’s windproof, too!), and headed out in the gray dreariness for the farmer’s market.  Despite the weather, I am in a good mood.  Nothing like farmer’s market fun to start the day off right.

I have not turned on my heat yet, but it seems that just about everyone else in this town has.  Despite my seeming cold weather hardiness, I did realize that a pair of mittens or gloves might serve me handy the next time I venture out into weather like this to shop at an outdoor market.

I digress.  I’m terribly sorry for keeping you in suspense.  Without further ado, my farmer’s market finds of today.

First up, a head of green cabbage.  I’m thinking about making this: Braised Cabbage from Nom Nom Paleo.  I pretty much have all the ingredients now, save the lard/bacon grease.  I will probably just substitute in a different fat because that’s how I do things around here.  I’ll also leave out the peppers.

Next, we have purple cauliflower!  I debated between the lovely yellow-orange cheddar cauliflower and this purple one and purple won out.  Next week, I’m getting the cheddar one.  Just for variety and fun.

Then we also have from my currently favorite farm stand at this market (I still miss my cheery organic farmer, but no matter), some tatsoi, red russian kale, and rainbow chard.  I know you can’t tell what’s what in the photo.  (Sorry, I was lazy).  It’s left to right if you want to have some fun figuring it out on your Saturday morning.

Also, from the same farm stand, I got a Japanese mustard green.  This is why I love shopping at farmer’s markets.  I seem to learn about new greens and veggies every week.  Since this summer, I have learned about so many new greens that I don’t miss my nightshades or any of the other things that I am no longer eating.  I’m too busy trying out new stuff.  This mustard green is actually pretty mild…the nice man at the stand let me try a piece before I committed.

Moving on from the veggies and greens, we have some rabbit meat.  I tried some last week and it was quite good.  Very mild.  I seem to be averse to the stronger red meats lately, so this week will be a seafood, rabbit meat week.  I might throw in some pork and chicken along the way, but we’re giving the red meats a rest this week, I think.

Then, we have some duck eggs.  I’m not sure what’s with the dud green egg in the upper left corner, but I’ll let you know if it ends up being a real egg.  Maybe it’s special and extra tasty, who knows.

And, finally, from my favorite dairy in the whole word, plain and pumpkin yogurt.  The pumpkin is new from this week.  Yippee!  Okay, well, not quite since I told myself I was eliminating sugars for this month and the pumpkin yogurt has maple syrup in it.  I only bought one though.  I think that with all these new seasonal flavors coming out, I’m going to have to allow myself one flavored yogurt a week and then buy the rest plain.

And that rounds up this week’s farmer’s market.

This week was not as eventful as last week.  Things were getting heavy and trying to hold an umbrella and carry around everything was not going well, so I just went with what I really needed and came home.  It’s probably for the best.

Catch up update on foods later on today.