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Two excellent recipe finds lately, courtesy of web searching to figure out what to do with the eggplant, potatoes, and tomatoes in the last two local produce boxes. Last week was the aforementioned eggplant/potato curry and then today was a Mediterranean casserole in which I was able to use five ingredients from the local box: eggplant, potato, tomato, basil, and onion. Tasty, tasty. Both recipes were reasonably easy, though the casserole is definitely a weekend dish as it needs to bake for quite a while. Also, if I make it again, I would up the olive oil.

We've also been enjoying the fruit from the local box. I don't quite see how blueberries can be local as in my mind I have them firmly categorized as coming from cold northern places like Maine. But their presence in the produce box has come in very handy as C is fond of them. We've also had some really lovely local peaches. And this week we got some figs, though I haven't tried them yet.
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Yesterday I was introduced to the phenomenon of 'planking'. Hee.

Also new this week, C appears to like homemade Indian food. She shoveled in her rice and dal and potato/eggplant curry with gusto. In general, she is an enthusiastic and, so far, non-picky eater. The only thing she hasn't seemed to enjoy is broccoli, but she still ate it even while grimacing. We've also had some misses with macaroni and peas, but I think the problem there was that they were small and slippery and she had trouble gumming them effectively without choking on them.
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Recently, I asked SWAPAns how they go about changing the world. Earlier this week, @neilhimself (aka Neil Gaiman) tweeted "For my 25,000th Tweet, a request: If you worry about the future, or just hope to make the world better, buy a book for a child today." So there's one answer. And an easy one at that. Seems worth a try. Wonder if it counts if the child for whom I buy a book is my own?
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The library had the cookbook I was interested in, so I am now 12th in line on the waiting list for it. Useful to preview cookbooks before buying and make sure they aren't full of eggy cheesy recipes.

In contrast to yesterday's race to check things off the to-do list, today I will focus on larger projects that I don't actually expect to complete. I have one paper to write and one to read and edit. I will alternate between them. I might get the editing done today, but it's ok if I don't.
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I seem to be having an inertia problem today. I'm not sure whether the underlying issue is energy levels or motivation or whether those are actually two parts of the same metaphorical elephant.

So, y'all, what do you do when you feel kind of schlumpy and you're not really interested in doing anything? Maybe I could take a short walk? Maybe I could challenge myself with a goal of checking a certain number of things off of my to-do list? Maybe I could bribe myself with a promise of a future treat if I buckle down and get things done? Maybe I should declare a 'just do it' day where the paradigm is to start with the most important/urgent item and just continue to make forward progress, no matter how slow the pace and regardless of whether I actually "feel like" working on the thing or not. ('Just do it' day sounds like a dreadful slog, but it usually turns out that once I slowly, reluctantly get going on things I end up getting engaged and interested and it becomes quite productive.)

Pickles

Jun. 14th, 2011 10:09 pm
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Two weeks ago the veggie roulette "local box" delivered unto me pickling cucumbers. I have pickled beets. I have pickled eggs. I have made Japanese-style salted pickles. But I have never done proper pickled cucumbers. The delivery service includes recipes with the box, but their pickle recipe was a sweet one. That's ok, I guess, but not really my thing. I found an easy garlic-dill refrigerator pickle recipe online and tried that. OMG! O! M! G! Homemade pickles are scrumptious. They remind me of really good, made-in-house, kosher dills that you could sometimes get from a real deli in NYC. If pickling cucumbers don't show up again in future boxes, I may have to order them as an add on. A successful acquisition of a new favorite via the local box veggie roulette.
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Any tips for what to do with vast quantities of lettuce? We got the local box from the organic delivery service again and unfortunately received more lettuce than any reasonable person could consume. If it matters, there's a spring mix, which I'm using for salad and sandwiches, a red leaf and what looks like a variety of escarole.
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There is a small person sleeping next to me. Sometimes I still haven't quite internalized the fact that she's real. Her tiny fists are chubby and cute, but her fingers are slim and remind me of mine and my mother's, a foreshadowing of the adult she will become. I cherish the tiny baby she is now but am simultaneously eager to meet the girl and woman she will someday be.
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Tomorrow is a holiday here and I'm looking forward to my long weekend. But first, there are things on deadline that need to be done. So, an accountability post. I have three things that really, absolutely need to be done today. Fortunately, they're all small to medium. I have four other things that I would like to get done. Only two of these items should take longer than half an hour so I think it should be reasonable to get them all done.

Goal for the day: top 7 items on the to-do list.
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C's first solid food, last weekend, was avocado. She was very excited to have it and seemed to really enjoy grabbing her chunk of avocado and squishing it and smearing it around. By the second day she was getting some of it into her mouth, but that resulted in somewhat comical faces and pushing it back out with her tongue. Sweet potato got about the same result, so I don't think it's just a dislike of avocado. She's definitely interested in the food, but not yet a fan of actually eating it. Perhaps we'll try banana next.

Any cute or funny first food stories from the parents here?
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Man, LJ is annoying lately. I've got Dreamwidth invite codes if anyone wants one.
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Last week we tried out a local organic grocery delivery service thanks to a groupon that made it half off. I couldn't decide what to order, so I just got the local produce box. Those of you who do CSAs are already well versed in such things, but I've been having fun figuring out what to do with the random assortment of veggies. We got: chard, kale, green leaf lettuce, a cabbage, a small bunch of radishes, some snap peas, a leek, four juicing oranges, some cilantro, a small bunch of carrots, and a small fennel bulb. The cilantro will probably languish unused as no one here is a fan, but I have plans for almost everything else. The oranges were juiced for weekend brunch (with frozen waffles with homemade strawberry-mango compote and veggie sausage - yum!). The chard was sauteed with garlic for a side dish. Most of the carrots and the fennel went into a bean casserole. I've been using the lettuce in lunch sandwiches and salads and I just made potato-leek soup to take to work for lunch tomorrow. The radishes were Sunday's side dish with the bean casserole and the snap peas were roasted for tonight's dinner side dish. The kale is slated for an Indian curried soup. I haven't yet decided what to do with the cabbage, but I think it'll keep for a few more days.

The bean casserole, from a recent Vegetarian Times, required a small substitution to make it vegan. I had thought it would be no trouble to sub for parmesan as I had a recipe for a very good vegan parmesan substitute bookmarked. But alas, I discovered the blog with the recipe was gone. I managed to mostly recreate it, with some google help from F., so I note it here for future reference:

1/2 C walnuts
1/2 C cashews
1/2 C brown rice flour
1/2 C nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp garlic powder
salt

Pulse in blender until you've got fine crumbs.


I happened to have almonds around, so I subbed those for the walnuts and cashews and I just eyeballed the proportions that worked out fine.

In case the radish recipe (found here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/653743) meets a similar fate, I record it here for posterity as it was very good:

1 large or 2 small bunches of radishes
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp brown sugar
Sea or kosher salt
2/3 cup water
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper and freshly grated nutmeg.

Cut leaves from radishes, leaving about a 1/2 inch of greens on the radishes. Wash greens, chop coarsely. In a small skillet with a lid melt the butter, brown sugar and 1/2 tsp salt over medium heat, then add the water and radishes and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer until radishes are cooked (can be pierced with little pressure with a knife but not mushy) This should take about 3 minutes.

Spread the greens over the radishes and bring the liquid to a boil (raise heat of burner for this). Reduce to med low heat, cover the pan and simmer gently until greens are "emerald color" and tender. This takes about 5 minutes. Press as much liquid as possible from the greens before taking them out of the pan. Transfer both greens and radishes to a bowl.

Add vinegar, pepper and a small amt. of nutmeg to the pan liquid and boil (uncovered) until it becomes syrupy. 2 minutes or so. taste and add more salt and sugar if it needs it. Put the radishes and greens back into the pan and stir to coat all with the sauce - without mashing them. Serve.


Cooked radishes are substantially less sharp tasting than raw ones. Really they come out mostly like random root vegetable and it's the greens that are the star of that recipe. The radishes and the snap peas only made two servings each, so we will need another side veggie to go with the last of the beans. Braised cabbage, maybe?

I will definitely play veggie roulette again, though probably not every week.
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It's 11 am and I've already had a conference call and a meeting. I feel like I've used up my supply of 'responsible' for the day. The mating dance of the oak trees, and what that does to my eyes and nose, is probably a contributing factor in this.

Ok, self, I challenge you to check off at least three things on the to-do list today. Three should be easy. For extra bonus feel good productivity points, see if you can hit six things.
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A Dragaera story at tor.com for your online reading pleasure.
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Dr. Seuss does Star Wars

Excellent Dr. Who info graphic

The Lord of the Rings as told by the other side

Interesting site looking at facial (a)symmetry. It relies on user uploaded images in which people take their picture, split it at the midline, and mirror the two halves into a right-side face and a left-side face. The quality is variable (in some cases the person wasn't completely centered, which skews things), but in the better quality ones it's interesting to see how much difference there can be.
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My grocery list often specifies "side veg" with the exact choice to be made based on what looks good this week. Today I was struck with a sudden desire for swiss chard. (Why?!? Who knows.) Also, organic blueberries were relatively cheap. I debated both of these. I'd never made chard as a side veg before and wasn't entirely sure what I would do with it. And I'm eating oatmeal for breakfast these days so no cold cereal to sprinkle the blueberries on. But I am happy to say that both items have already been eaten and were very tasty. The chard was great sauteed with olive oil & garlic. I think that it will become a regular in the side veg rotation. And the blueberries made a yummy cobbler for dessert.
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Pre-heat oven to 375 F. Wash & trim some brussels sprouts. If they're bigger than bite size, cut them in half. If they're really big, make it quarters. Toss with some olive oil on a baking tray. Make sure they're spread out in a single layer. Roast 20-25 minutes until tender, stirring once. It's ok if they get a little dark at the edges. Put a big glug of maple syrup and a small glug of dijon mustard in your serving bowl. (Somewhere between 1:1 and 3:1 maple to mustard, depending on how much you like mustard.) Mix until combined. When the sprouts are cooked, sprinkle them with salt & then toss with maple/mustard mix to coat lightly. Eat.
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I am warm and toasty in front of our fireplace with a napping husband next to me and a sleeping baby in my arms. :) Our first Christmas tree of our own is brightly lit and there are presents underneath it. The stockings are hung by the chimney with care. (C's and F's are new, courtesy of Etsy. C's has an adorable penguin on it.) Dinner was mighty tasty, if I do say so myself - Cuban black beans & rice and squash with mojo. There's cake and ice cream to have when F wakes up. Life is good. Happy Holidays!
tapas: Vegan month of food icon (vegan mofo)
Stuffed portobello mushrooms from the NY Times (tasty, would make again!), cranberry sauce from the local paper (ditto), roasted brussels sprouts with dijon-maple glaze, and yams. Soon there will be cake and ice cream for dessert.
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Complete History Of The Soviet Union, Arranged To The Melody Of Tetris:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWTFG3J1CP8

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