A Year in Food


Tabouleh

Spinach Basil Pesto

(to borrow from Soulemama)
Right Now I’m…

  • nearly a month into this Lent thing and trying out a new recipe or two a week;
  • two buttons bands away from finishing up a new design sample;
  • into running again, signed up for a 5k and everything;
  • enjoying the increasing hours of daylight;
  • loving the unseasonably warm March weather we’re having; and
  • obsessing over a new music find: darlingside

What are you up to?

Mr. Cleaver and I tried quinoa for the first time this morning, we used the Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa Recipe from Chef MD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine via 101 Cookbooks and it was definitely tasty and filling. I’m looking forward to trying quinoa in more savory and salad dishes too.

In other news, it looks like spring is finally making it’s way to Maine!

While I failed at my last cookie baking attempt, I’ve had a bit more luck in the vegetarian cooking department. First off I wanted to thank everyone for their recipe suggestions, I’m still looking through some of the ones posted last week, but there are several I can’t wait to try – keep ‘em coming!

Two things I’ve learned quickly, chickpeas (and beans in general) are my veggie-cooking friends and that taking pictures of food in my kitchen lighting at night is less than ideal.

Also, not specifically related to the vegetarian-eating thing, but banana and nutella on toast may be my new favorite breakfast.

Recipes used this week:

  • Chilaquiles vegetarianos! (first photo). I’d definitely make this one again. It was delicious, it reheated well and I’m a sucker for avocados.
  • Baked falafel (second photo). This one I’m a little less enthused by, the falafel seemed  bit too mushy, but it could be because I under baked it or that I’m just more used to the fried version.

Also made (not-photograghed) Chana Masala, which I improvised with a bunch of veggies, chickpeas and a jar of Masala sauce from Trader Joes.

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Another spring and another Lent is upon us already!

In the past I’ve given up jeans, non-cash forms of payment, television,  and pants.

This year I’m doing something a bit more traditional and giving up meat (with the usual fish on Fridays exeception, because Mr. Cleaver really likes seafood).

Yep – I’m going vegetarian!

crocheted dinosaurs

Crocheted Dinosaurs by PlanetJune on Flickr!

It’s a veggiesaurus Lex, veggiesaurus! -Jurassic Park

I tend to pick my Lent challenges months in advance and my decision to go veggie is part of the reason I declared 2012 a Year in Food/conscious eating.(The other is that I have high hopes for an edible garden this year).

One of my greatest conscious eating successes so far this year has been the daily addition of fruit, but veggies, particularly those outside the “intro veggie” range (peas, broccoli, lettuce, etc.), are harder for me, so what better way to to expand and explore than to go vegetarian.

All-in I’m pretty excited about the whole thing. (In any case, it’ll be warmer than giving up pants).

I’ve started a folder (and a Pinterest Board) of some recipes I’m going to try, but if you have some favorite recipe links or  vegetarian cooking blogs to share, I’d love to check them out. So fill up the comments with suggestions!

2012-A-Year-in-Food.gifIn America, the National Pie Council (what, your country doesn’t have one of those?) declared January 23rd National Pie Day.

Being as we for some strange reason don’t get this as a day off, I had to do my celebrating yesterday in my now-traditional fashion, with a pie-luck!

Cup-pies

I made a batch of cherry cup-pies and a chocolate/raspberry pie that I neglected to photograph.

(Note to all bakers out there, when making a recipe for the first time, read the whole recipes before the morning you attempt to make it. I neglected to do this and caught myself running out of time when I realized that my raspberry pie took FOUR HOURS to make due to refrigerating time for the different parts.)

I think I need to make cup-pies more often, they’re adorable and take only a tiny bit more work than a regular pie.

Egg Pie

As usual we had a range of savory, sweet, and tart pies.  A pie-luck requires at least three rounds to the table and generous amounts of tupperware for the leftovers.

Eating Pie

Pie Plate

We also got in a fair amount of knitting and Aimee, Chris, and Maggie split up several balls of Jamieson and Smith yarn for our sheep heid knit-a-long. (I’m spinning mine).

Sheep Heid Shares

Pie Carnage

So for those interested, here’s a run-down of the pies (if I forgot any my apologies!):

  • Savory
    • Red Lentil & root vegetable pot pie
    • Goat cheese and leek egg pie/quiche
    • Pizza Pie
  • Fruit-Based
    • Apple Cranberry
    • Cranberry Pear Shortbread
    • Cranberry Sage
    • Cherry Cup-pies
    • Chocolate Raspberry
    • Apricot Cheese
  • Cream
    • Chocolate Satin
    • Butterfinger

With all the leftovers I ended up with – I’ll be celebrating pie all week!!

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Maybe it’s because I have food on the brain, but I took a lot of photos of food on our California trip, and truthfully we did a lot of eating out while we were there, so I thought I’d share some highlights.

Oxbow Public Market

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For southern Mainers, the Oxbow Public Market is like a successful version of what the Portland Public Market tried to be. INside the market there are a dozen or so food-related booths ranging from cupcakes and ice cream, to spices and olive oils, to oysters. Even on a Wednesday the whole market was fairly popular.

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We grabbed some delicious Tacos at Casa and had the unseasonable pleasure of enjoying them outside on the patio seating. Casa’s food is my favorite kind of Mexican – instead of the heayy refried bean and cheese fare at most Mexican chains, their food was fresh and light and featured some tasty but untraditional favor combos, like my blue cheese/onion/steak taco below.

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Buttercream Bakery:

My visits to Butercream are more about nostalgia than anything else. The food at the diner is simple diner fare, while the doughnuts come in regular and fancy varieties. We picked up a dozen of my old favorites, but I most enjoyed the red velvet doughnut I’d never tried before. So much for nostalgia!

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Genova Delicatessen
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A great deli in an unassuming location, this is the one spot my brother always makes sure to visit whenever he’s in Napa.

See’s Candies
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If you’re Californian, or ever been in a California airport, you probably know See’s Candies. I used to always try to get to the sprinkled one first – never realized they were mocha-flavored. If you visit one of the stand alone-stores, you get a free sample!

In-N-Out Burger
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What is there to say about In-N-Out that hasn’t been already said. Of all of my food photos from the trip, this is one that made Mr. Cleaver the most hungry again.

Boon Fly Cafe
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I was most excited to visit the Boon Fly Cafe.

One summer during college I worked at the under construction Carneros Inn (its parent/location) as a temp in the accounting department filing papers in a trailer full of soap and shampoo and one day my supervisor took me to lunch at the Boon Fly, which I remembered as delicious.

My memory served me well.

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The Boon Fly is my favorite kind of restaurant, simple food done incredibly well. The blackberry lemonade and flatbread pizzas were especially tasty. As a bonus the restaurant boasts a beautifully designed and relaxed atmosphere.

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Ghirardelli Ice Cream Shop

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After all this food, there’s still a place for desert. While in San Francisco we stopped at the Ghirardelli Ice Cream Shop, and let me tell you they do not mess around with chocolate there.

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Other notable stops (non-pictured):

Gillwood’s Cafe – Napa locals’ favorite brunch spot

Norman Rose Tavern – a new spot w/ great comfort food and an impressive tap list that includes several local beers and ciders in addition to the expected wines.

2012-A-Year-in-Food.gifIt’s not so much a resolution as a a general feeling, but in addition to all the usual crafty things I do (and boy, do I plan to do a lot of them this year), I’d also like to spend more time and mind-space crafting my food.

I put a great deal of time and thought into my knitting, sewing, and other crafts, but when it comes to food, I usually take the path of least resistance.

For example, breakfast for me is often a bowl of Trader Joe’s Honey-O’s. It’s not that I crave the taste, it’s not that it’s the most nutritious, it’s just that it’s easy. I’m a bit embarrassed when I think of the number of times I’ve thought that the six minutes it takes to microwave oatmeal is just too long (you have to watch it whole time!), even though I’m always hungry by 10 AM when I eat cereal.

This is not to belittle cereal in any way, it’s just about the general mindlessness of the whole thing.

I’m not forswearing any foods, or vowing to only eat things raised within a prescribed mileage. I just want to make and eat food for a reason other than convenience.

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Scrambled Egg and Toast w/ homemade Strawberry Jam

It’s also not about weight loss or eating five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

It’s about being aware that I live in a place and time that gives me the good fortune to have access to a huge range of food of all varieties. It’s making an actual choice about what I’m feeding myself, even if that choice is a bowl of popcorn and some Oreos.  As long as it’s an actual decision.

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I’ll be the first to admit that Mr. Cleaver does more than the lion’s share of food shopping and prep in our house, and that I need to step up to the plate more often. 9 to 5 cannot be my excuse for not caring.

So I’m going to care, and plant the veggie garden I didn’t get to last year, and do better than the can of soup I’ve taken to work for three days straight and not eaten.

I’m not promising weekly posts or anything, but if you haven’t heard anything in a couple of months you have my permission to bug me about it some. So long as you don’t mind reading a little about the stir-fries along with the stitches.

So here’s to 2012 and putting as much care into my food as I put into my craft.

…and now that I read this whole post, it’s sounds an awful lot like a New Year’s Resolution. And that’s okay too.

P.S. Can I point out that I drew all the veggies in the logo thingy myself in Adobe Illustrator? I’m still fairly new to the program, so I’m pretty proud! (Yeah I made a logo thingy for this)

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