Sunday, November 29, 2009

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife"

gaaah, Pride and Prejudice. I'm rereading it now, and, I gotta say, man. it's just so good.


not a bad day at work. got to play with the most wonderful SD (and discuss our girl and boy problems), and worked 8 straight hours with the main man target. mmm :)

it is thanks to this main man target that I have a delish din-din to immortalize for future reference. I was hungry as shit after work, but, after halfway implying to him we should have a playdate later, I realized I shouldn't gorge too much. it needed to be filling, but light. yeah. opposing concepts. I know.

I was like, "Well shee-it, I'll just make a small supper with hella flavor and call it a night. And if He doesn't call after 10 or so, I'm gettin' some goddamn fro-yo. Hell, I may just get Yoloberry anyway, dairy-bloat be damned!"

and so this curry was born. I used to love my momma's chicken curry*, but, since I do not indulge of the flesh anymore (unless it's the main man target... sigh. if only.), I'm not privy to its pleasure-play of flavors. it's shredded chicken, apples, raisins, celery, curry... so good. well, since it's freezing around here anyway, I figured I'd stew it up and ignore its chilled-bird roots.

Pre-Playdate Curry

1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 red jalapeno, coarsely chopped
1/2 golden delicious or other mild, firm apple, chopped
1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 1-2 inch bites
olive oil
1/2 cup veggie broth
2 TBS tomato paste
1 TBS curry
2 tsp tumeric
2 tsp cumin (these are all just accounting for my more or less generous dashes)
half a handful red lentils

saute the garlic, jalapeno, and apple together in the olive oil on low 'til they begin to get nice and fragrant. mix in the asparagus, and cook for about 2 minutes, until everything begins to sizzle. when it does, add all the spices, broth, and tomato paste, bring to a simmer, and then mix in the lentils. cover, turn back down to low, and cook until lentils are soft, and sauce has reduced, about 15 minutes.

hoo baby, this was good. I wanted to serve it on wilted collards (my current favorite green), so I mixed in the lentils to thicken it up (the red lentils are great because: a) they cook fast; b) they break down nice and quickly, making a really tasty mush; c) I got a BUNCH of them NC'd :D), but more broth can be added to make it more soup-y - probably would just need to adjust tomato and curry ratio.

*Mark Darcy: ...I realize that when I met you at the Turkey Curry Buffet I was unforgiveably rude... and wearing a reindeer jumper. That my mother had given me the day before. But the thing is, um, what I'm trying to say, very inarticulately, is that, um, in fact, perhaps despite appearances, I like you. Very much.
: [Bitterly] Apart from the smoking and the drinking and the verbal diarrhea...
Mark Darcy
: No, I mean I like you very much. Just as you are.

damn, son, I just tied this entire post together. the P&P quote from the title and the content of this meal are brought together by Bridget Jones's Diary. I knew there was a reason I loved that movie.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"it's just a sham. a sham with yams. it's a yam-sham!"

so, comrades, it's the day before thanksgiving*. k.stein and I spent the morning baking up a storm (and when I charge my camera, I'll post the evidence), making cranberry bread a la martha, pumpkin muffins-to-bread de VwaV, and apple pie.

and none of this is as important as what I made for dinner.

food EDITS:
-the cranberry bread had an entire bag of cranberries in it - it could've used more sugar, or maybe some agave. agave would've been nice.

-my sleazy beezy roommate took our muffin tins to her boyfriend's (wtf), so isa's delightful pumpkin muffins became a loaf. shouldn't've been - it's really dense and kinda crumbles when you try to slice it. it's yum, though, molasses-y and full of the dusty, fall tastes of allspice, cloves, nutmeg... so good. my coworkers will appreciate it tomorrow when we're chopping lettuce and stocking kale at 4:30am. oh, and isa, you are my goddess.

-the apple pie was an adventure. it had a betterhomesandgardens butter pastry crust, which, while definitely not vegan, was tender, and very easy to work with. k.stein assembled the filling, with mixed apples, sugar, maple, brandy (she's my favorite drunk), and cinnamons, all dotted with butter. we haven't tried the pie yet, but it sure turned out pretty - a nice looking lattice crust, with three little hearts in the center (because I'm cutesy and stuff like that sometimes).

we made empanadas/apple turnovers with the leftover crust and filling, which were pretty amazing. I hope the pie's ok - I think some of the success of the empanadas was that it was a sealed pocket, so the filling stayed moist. we'll see how this lattice works.

anyway, those are the baked goods. dinner was bound to be a quick affair, as I got off work past supper-time. work was wild today (who'd've thought, a grocery store being busy the day before thanksgiving), and I was tired, grumpy, and not in the mood to screw around constructing one of my hyper-calorie conscious meals. I wanted some damn food. food with swear words in the name.

duh! pasta puttanesca. the name means "pasta of the whores", and is traditionally full of capers, tomatoes, anchovies, shrimpies, and kalamata olives. I ditched the fish-flesh here in favor of pumpkin. ...yeah, I know. but I had about half a can leftover from isa-bread, so why not. it was AMAZING, well-spiced and rich and filling yet still fall-y. I'm calling it my premeditated dinner of necessity, because I sort of just got things, and threw it together, all the while with a glorious vision in my head.

PUMPKIN PUTA SAUCE (pardon the obscenities :D)

good quality olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 - 1/3 cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1 can crushed tomatoes (I used the muir glen fire roasted ones)
1 TBS tomato paste
1/2 can pumpkin (plain, none of that nasty pre-flavored crud)
1/2 - 1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp paprika (adjust as necessary - this is me trying to measure my dashes and pinches)
1 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper

saute the onions and shallots in the oil on medium heat 'til they begin to get fragrant, 3 minutes or so. mix in the garlic, and saute until it's beginning to get brown. mix in the tomatoes, olives, tomato paste, and pumpkin, stirring to mix it all together well. add spices, and adjust to taste - you may want it spicier, or more paprika-y (I like paprika and tomatoes a lot).

serve over good-quality bite-sized pasta; conchiglie or penne or orichette would all be good. if you want (and I did), douse your pasta in a tiny bit of cream before you add your sauce - it adds a interesting new dimension, but is totally not necessary.

mmm :)

*this pretty much sums up my feelings on thanksgiving - the title and these both come from "pangs" (thanks, joss!):
Anya: I love a ritual sacrifice.
: Not really a one of those.

To commemorate a past event, you kill and eat an animal. It's a ritual sacrifice. With pie.

Monday, November 23, 2009


this blog is my celebration.

but first, backstory. my name is mary, and I've got this weird life. I've been living in northern california for three years now, and love it. I'm just about to graduate from UCD with my BA in english and education. I'm going to teach your kids someday, how about that?

at any rate.

I live in this bitchin' aggie (about my colloquialisms and affectations - I curse like a sailor and love slang too much for a classically educated literature student =/) town that's all kinds of involved in the locavore movement. for those uninformed, urbandictionary defines locavore as such:
[noun] someone who eats food grown or produced locally or within a certain radius such as 50, 100, or 150 miles, usually for ecological reasons.

we're in the seat of yolo county, which is surrounded by farms, farms, and more farms. I work in a co-op, which you'll hear me reference often - it's one of the most amazing parts of my life. it's this alternative grocery store that focuses heavily on buying local, organic, sustainable, bioethical... you get my point. I work in the produce part, which means I've got my hands on all kinds of wonderful fruits and vegetables, most of which are grown less than 50 miles from the store.

one of the best perks about this is the NC. NC is a term you'll hear me throwing around plenty, too, so let me define it now:
[noun] any item that has been deemed unsellable, and thus, "no charge". consists of mostly damaged, past-date, or returned items.

produce is a great department for nabbing the NCs - bruised fruit, greens that fall on the ground, all of it I get to take home for dinner. for a college student who works full-time to pay rent and tuition, this is a big deal. my best girl and coworker LD and I scrounge hard, and hardly ever buy anything. because she is so righteously independent, she will not read recipes, choosing to "just make shit up". needless to say, I go over and cook for us 5 of 7 nights a week.

I have grown heavily dependent on food blogs. I'm a laissez-faire vegetarian/vegan (which means mommy chavez can guilt me into san diego chile verde and carne asada burritos whenever I go home to visit), but really strive hard to be conscious and considerate when I cook for LD and me. I've turned into a real, live freegan, which, thanks to urbandictionary, is defined as such:
[noun] 1. somebody who abstains from contributing to the economy and salvages society's wasted food and resources rather than purchase more themselves. Often pertains to a VEGAN (somebody who doesn't eat/wear animal products) who only makes exceptions when dealing with otherwise wasted items.
2. a person who, in reaction to the statistic that the west wastes 25% of all it's resources, get items from the trash that are perfectly good. It is often smelly, but hundreds of items can be found, perfectly fine, that otherwise would be wasted. Is often linked with environmentalism and activism.

so, you'll see a lot of my recipes of necessity here! I'm mostly starting this so I can stalk my blog heroes online (I love you, isa of postpunkkitchen, susanv of fatfreevegan, and heidi of 101cookbooks!), but also because I need my own system of cataloging the ones that actually turn out right! my mother believes in writing everything down, but anyone who has ever been in a kitchen ONCE knows that handwritten recipes get covered in all KINDS of mess. the internet is a safe place. we'll leave it at that for now - I'm pretty sure I have winter veggie pasta at SD's calling my name (or texting me impatiently, har har.)