Thursday, April 4, 2013

I love kimchi. And I'm here to tell you: the dried kimchi that Trader Joe's is selling with the description "snack/condiment" is not edible as a snack. I imagine it could make a great condiment for a Korean taco with bulgogi, though. There might be a texture issue.  I wonder if there's any probiotic value left after you dry it out like that. Probably not.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tom Collichio: personal thoughts, while watching his appearance on Bill Maher's show

His bruiser looks belie a soft persistence in speech that is urgent and sincere. Which makes him completely impossible to say no to.  Big features on a big bald guy who is shiny and white, paired with the leaning, curt speech of a New Jersey smart guy. His blue eyes look red _ maybe with tears for America’s hunger, maybe with pot, considering “stoner food” is one of the high compliments he pays liked dishes on “Top Chef,” TV’s best cooking competition show that spawned countless impersonators and inspirations. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

black-eyed pea salad

Delicious, simple to the point of stupidity:

Black-eyed Pea Salad

2 cans of 365 black-eyed peas (organic, no salt, halo floats right above the can)
1 large fresh jalapeno, small dice (I removed all ribs and seeds to reduce spice; leave some in for a kick!)
1 red bell pepper, small dice
4 green onions, sliced thin
1 lemon, juiced
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp rice vinegar
celery salt, generous (it should taste almost salty before it goes in the fridge, the flavor softens overnight)
1 clove garlic, mashed through press or minced fine

1. Wash and drain peas.
2. Chop peppers, green onions into a small dice. I removed all ribs and seeds from jalapeno and will probably leave some in next time for a little kick.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients. My lemon was enormous, so feel free to play with the sours of this recipe.
4. Important: let sit overnight. Leave a spoon handy and give it a stir every when you're at the fridge.  Might need more salt eventually.  I tried it last night and it was just shy of disgusting. Today, amazing.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Restaurant: Mohawk Bend
Visit: First
Location: Silver Lake
Order: Buffalo Cauliflower, Poutine, Steak Frites

They did an okay steak, but it was seared too hard on the outside, so although I got a mostly medium rare steak, the edges were very well, hard.

Poutine may just not be my thing. I prefer Nacho Fries like biscuiterie will tell you. A mushy fry with gooey sauce needs to be crinkle cut with straight nacho cheese in my (obviously) humble opinion.

The Buffalo Cauliflower is what I want to go back for. It sounds ridiculous but it was so delicious. I could have eaten another order all by myself. I don't know if the cauliflower was blanched first but there was a very light skin and Frank's buffalo sauce, which is the traditional flavor you get everywhere. There was some sort of forgettable vegan blue cheese dressing to go with it.

Note: try this

I also need to buy fresh carrots and jalapenos. I bought canned escabeche (that pickled jalapeno/carrot combo) and it is so unbelievably spicy, it's impossible to eat. I think if I cut the canned with fresh, and add bay, garlic and vinegar, it'll be tasty.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Well, it has been a very long time.

Usually posts like this mark the beginning of an end.  Like one last beep before the plunge into the darkness of a dead phone battery. An energy is spent, gone from you, the feeling to write. But it's been a long year and I have all kinds of fresh goals.  And Michaela's blog linked to this old thing and I actually had the thought "ooh, I wonder what the last thing I wrote was." That's not a great thing to wonder.

I am really excited about the coming year. Part of it is the simple math. You leave behind a bad year and every day of survival away from it counts. I feel unusually confident and together.  Like biscuiterie mentions, I ran a half marathon, my first. I started running right after my dad died. I was sleeping next to my mom, nights in Laguna. Days chasing all the unraveled bits. And I would need to run, but I couldn't. In high school, I remember I would go up and run around the park for what seemed like hours. I would turn over my Green Day/Specials/NoDoubt/Rancid/DeadKennedys/Smashing Pumpkins mix cassette (!) in my Walkman and run. But when I would slip away to the park and run last year, I couldn't make it very far _ for the tears, for the tightness in my throat, for the physical weakness.

And last week, we went to Austin.  It was so completely fun. I want to do that every year. We ate well, we behaved well _ for a weekend in which I ran longer than I'd ever ran in my life, I felt remarkably rested and happy when we got back.  I want to start trail running this year. And to do a few more races. I'm already signed up for Bay to Breakers in May.  It felt really great to honor my dad with the race. I'm proud I was able to do it. I don't feel like there are a lot of ways the feeling of it can be expressed. I feel a light and a lightness in the comfort of knowing he would be happy for me.
tangent: I wish I saw them play in Budapest. before I die, I want to go to the European music festivals for a summer.

This year, I get what I want. The runes said so. I went to a party with my screenwriting class. It was in the Valley at my teacher's house. I really like the people in the class. There are a lot of really young, talented people in there. It's kindof inspiring. We might become a cult after class, I think. Everyone's kindof spiritual and we're all really into eachother. And we read my runes. Other people were asking for career advice and the only thing I wanted to know when it came my turn was if I'm going to have a boyfriend and the runes say I will. Still, your prayers are well-appreciated.

It's late.


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mung Bean and Roasted Cauliflower soup (Ash-e-Mash, a variation)

Well, it's 12:15 a.m. and I'm cooking. I can hear a lone nightengale (or whatever kind of bird sings outside at night) and my iPod/time capsule from 2002-2005 NYC is playing "Friends of P."

On the stove I have what is going to be my variation on ash-e-mash (mash is pronounced like the fancy lettuce in this case, and rhymes with ash). It's a soup of mung beans. I know, it's kindof an odd ingredient. But I saw it while I was shopping in Westwood recently and... I saw a Dr. Oz that talked about mung beans being good for you and the only recipe I know for it is this soup. I haven't had it more than once or twice. But it's delicious.

It calls for two ingredients I didn't have at the time of deciding to make soup at around 11:45 p.m.: turnip and pumpkin or winter squash. I know, who doesn't always have those on hand, right?

I did have some cauliflower on hand. I got obsessed with roasting cauliflower recently. I had a bit at Frankie's in New York on my last trip and I have their cookbook at home so I came home and started making it. And of course, it's the world's easiest recipe (cauliflower, olive oil, salt, 350 degrees).

So I'm going to sub in some roast cauliflower before I blend this soup. It's also chockablock full of dried herbs, a versatile pantry staple I always have on hand in quantities far exceeding those little spice bottles. And it's way easier than chopping from fresh sans food processor, which tends to piss off the neighbors at this time of night.

(Oh, now it's playing The Cure. "Other Voices." It's on shuffle, so there have been some sweet surprises so far. Rye Coalition's "The Lipstick Game" is still insanely sexy in a scary biker kind of way.)

(Speaking of sexy... have some soup.)

Here's my version, adapted from Najmieh Batmangelij's book "New Food of Life."

3 large onions, sliced
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 cup dried mung beans
1/2 cup rice
12 oz package of cauliflower florets, chopped
1 cup chopped cilantro (or 1/4 cup dried)
2 cups chopped parsley (or 1/2 cup dried)
1/2 cup chopped dill (or 1/4 cup dried)
1 cup yogurt (optional)

5 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 tsp turmeric
3 tbsp dried mint
(you can also reserve a few little roasted cauliflower florets for each bowl)
lemons, for squeezing fresh juice, to taste.

Preheat oven to 350.
1. Brown onions in oil. 15 min.
2. Add garlic, salt, pepper, turmeric. 2 min.
3. Add mung beans, saute. 5 min.
4. Add enough water plus three inches, bring to boil, skim froth. Reduce heat. Simmer 50 minutes on medium, stirring occasionally.
5. While soup simmers, put cauliflower that has been tossed in olive oil and salt in oven to roast for about 45 minutes. Check in and move it around every so often until it's browned in spots and tender.
6. Add rice, cilantro, parsley, dill to soup. Simmer 90 minutes.
8. Add in yogurt, roasted and lightly browned cauliflower, taste for seasonings and use immersion blender to smooth soup about half-way to completely smooth.
9. Drizzle a spoonful of garnish over top.
These garnishes don't need much time, particularly if you did a good job with chopping your garlic.  Do them right as you're getting ready to serve.
1. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat.
2. Fry garlic for 1 minute, until fragrant.
3. Lower heat, add turmeric and dried mint, stirring constantly for 1 minute, just until mint is heated through.

This is a dish best served a day later. Can't wait.

Friday, May 18, 2012

food invention: Beans, with fenugreek and onions

I love red beans, and usually have them in a stew of greens that Persians eat over rice called Ghormeh Sabzi.

But the stew takes a long time and tonight I realized I could make a healthier version _ vegan and to be eaten alone, without rice. So here's this evening's cooking invention, which I will certainly make many more times. 

Persian-inspired beans, with fenugreek and onions.

1 yellow onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp limoo amani, crushed (a Persian dried lime found in Middle Eastern groceries. You can substitute with juice of 1 lime)
1/2 cup fenugreek leaves, steeped in hot water for 5 minutes and drained (I buy these in bulk at the Indian grocer)
1 lemon, juiced
1 cup cooked yellow split peas
2 cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1. Brown onions in olive oil. Salt generously.
2. Add garlic, coriander, cumin, limoo amani, fenugreek. Cook and stir about 5 minutes, until fenugreek is lightly browned and spices are fragrant.
3. Add 1 cup water to deglaze pot. Bring to boil. Add split peas and kidney beans. Add juice of one lemon. Add water to cover beans
4. Simmer 30 minutes. Mush some of the beans as you occasionally stir if the sauce needs to thicken.
5. Garnish. This would be delicious topped with garlic chips or a little garlic-infused olive oil.  Other possible garnishes: carmelized onions, lemon juice, chopped parsley, olive oil, parmesan... all of the above if you're making a meal of it.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

(Is it a valid excuse to buy a new camera if I can't find the charger for my old one? I know it's not, but for the record, that's also my excuse for not food-blogging properly most recently.)

I made a delightful chili today. Simple, ground beef and kidney beans. Sweet tomatoes. Started by browning some bacon, to impart my favorite chili flavor principle: smokiness. The onions, spices and the beef followed. Tomatoes. I threw in three dried chipotle chilis from a huge jar of them I bought at the farmer's market in West Virginia years ago. Again, smokiness.

Topped with cheese, cilantro sour cream and crisp bacon bits. Snuggled up to watch The Godfather for the umpteenth time on a windy day. A joyous little meal.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's been a busy few months. I blame my aloof Aquarian ways for leaving you so poorly attended, oh blog of mine.

Let's see.

The now: the record has played to its end so I'm sitting in my apartment listening to the rain and the rattle of my bracelets against this laptop, which has scuffmarks where the two always meet.

The recent past: I unpacked two really big boxes of stuff that are the parts of my new table.

The less recent past: I moved to a new place. The new place has a gas stove that I love. Now the phrase "now you're cooking with gas" doesn't grate. The view is really nice -- not the windows of a sometimes carefree with the underwear old man. Instead, I have a pair of stomping idiots who live upstairs. But I've been keeping terrible hours with my work schedule all fakkakte, so I probably deserve their flat-footed passive aggressive rage. But the apartment really is pretty great. The neighborhood is really cool and nice. Lots of places to wander around to and eat and shop. Oh, and the view: when I wake up in the morning, I see the light settling into the Hollywood Hills. When I fall asleep, they're my twinkling nightlights. It's really soothing.

Since I last wrote, I've gotten loosey goosey with the diet, indulging now and again in some rice here and there. Some pita-binging now and again.

The other day, I invented the world's greatest/worst sandwich. Take Japanese eggplant rounds, salt, drain for 20 minutes, rinse, dry. Coat with egg white, fry in a half inch of peanut oil, drain on towels. Frying eggplant coated in egg white reduces the oil the eggplant sops up, leaving it light and crispy outside, soft inside. Slip yolk into oil, drizzle remaining egg white around it. Remove as soon as it's well set up. Take toasted pita, fill with French sheepsmilk feta, Japanese eggplant and fried egg. Drizzle it all with homemade bagna cauda (I like mine with basil). Try to go a day without wanting to do that again. So good. I'm keeping that recipe to entertain with -- it would be great for a lunch with a salad or as a warm starter for dinner, sans egg.

Oh, and I also made a pretty okay tahdig, not too long ago.

I'll try and be more attentive, oh blog of mine.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The season of salads continues. Tonight I roasted a big slew of vegetables after finding myself hungry for the savory vegetal dish I used to make weekly when I first moved to New York. It was my first real winter, with snow on the ground. This had never happened to me before. I lived in a linoleum-floored NYU dorm that I basically had all to myself because one roommate dropped out and the other never stayed the night. I cultivated a lot of weird behaviors there, in my tailspin of post-California life. I had a bunch of people over one night and cooked a very stinky Iranian feast in that little place. We hauled a table and chairs from a friend's apartment 7 floors up. The guys from an up and coming record label that was putting out obscure Sonic Youth records came for the meal, ripping through every drop of liquor I had in the apartment. They were trouble with trust funds.

I was still a vegetarian when I first moved to New York. I hadn't eaten bacon in near a decade and I was oblivious to the need for it because I'd been spoiled by California's harvest, the constant supply of ripe, excellent produce at reasonable prices. In contrast, the Key Foods nearest my dorm in the hospital hinterlands of 26th and 1st Ave. was a depressing, tight-laned space with a lot of dusty products with labels I'd never seen (everything seemed vaguely European to my bumpkin eyes) and a dismal produce section where everything seemed to cost so much more than it ever had. On several occasions, I called my mother from the store to tell her that a withering, little head of lettuce cost $1.99 and she would gasp her horror. I was raised in a house where one or two heads of lettuce were consumed a day. The pale tomatoes, dinged and sticky, were just as pricey. It's unsurprising that I gave up vegetarianism in that town.

And so, sometimes when it would be particularly cold and I felt particularly far from Southern California, I would slice up a big slew of vegetables _ peppers, onions, carrots, broccoli, garlic, whatever else was lying around. A pot of beans, tortillas and some cheese and I would have the closest thing I could to Mexican food in a city that had no acceptable Mexican cuisine.

Tonight, I made a spicy roast of peppers, jalapenos, sweet onions, zucchini, carrots and mushrooms.

My dinner bowl, visual representation*:
top: chimichurri roast salmon
under that: roast vegetables
under that: smoked cheese (my constant cheat on the diet. a little goes a long way, i reason)
under that: a blend of kale and arugula, dressed with the stevia-dijon dressing.

* a photo could not be snapped before it was gobbled up.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

a revelation: stevia in the salad dressing.

dijon, salt, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and stevia.

amazing. especially on my salty, smokey salad of kale, arugula, cucumber, tomatoes, smoked cheese and turkey bacon.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I just don't have as much of an appetite for meat in the summer. Except for sausages. Those are good year round.

A vegetable saute. I've been really into sweet onions this summer and sometimes just cooking them until they get a little melty and carmel-y is all I want. But you can't just eat an onion for dinner, so I throw in odds and ends. This is a sliced Vidalia onion, grated zucchini, arugula, button mushrooms, garlic, turkey bacon and smoked cheese mix from Trader Joe's.

Here I made my best imitation of the Zankou garlic sauce yet. It's nowhere near right but it's so garlicky that it tickles the same sweet spot. But it's basically a garlic mayonnaise with lemon and oil. Organic vegetables to accompany: carrots, button mushrooms and heirloom cherry tomatoes.
A recent dinner was the sweet onion sauteed with chicken sausage, in a sauce of sugar-free ketchup, Sriracha and Worcestershire, which I prefer to BBQ. Served with kale, arugula salad with tomatoes and grana padano.

This is an optical illusion, she's not allowed to eat from my actual plate. We have boundaries.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

inane as it may be, i suddenly feel that i should admit that i don't always get my grocery shopping done at grocery stores or farmer's markets.

tonight, i shopped for diet coke through restaurant delivery. am i proud? no. but i am the person who is willing to pay a premium if you'll bring me 6 diet cokes to last me through the week instead of one to sip with dinner. and there was also food delivered, too, so i'm not some crazy evil customer -- pretty delicious tandoori and eggplant from this place, actually.

back when carbs were things i ate, i would also do this with brown rice _ it takes forever to cook and reheats very well, is my reasoning. and it's nice to always have on hand, ready to eat.

in college, i perfected the recipe for a meal of rice and rice alone, save for some refrigerator remnant condiments: rice stir fried with butter, soy sauce and lemon. it's really not the sort of meal you eat in front of another human being. kindof like the spaghetti sauce i developed at the time, which was basically a blend of ketchup, tomato paste and sriracha, mixed with cooked store brand spaghetti. These are meals one likes to be left alone with, save for maybe the grumbling dinner companion of Poverty. but I digress.

unfortunately, tonight, in this belle epoch of my life where i can afford not one but three diet cokes to be purchased at a time at a 100 percent markup, they decided not to bring me my diet cokes. sigh. one little can was in the bundle, which felt light to my hand but the deliveryman was a little hostile/annoyed with my pleasantries so i didn't check the bag in front of him. my spoiled girl plot, foiled. sigh.

Friday, July 15, 2011

my froyo habit is completely out of control. i need it daily. i circle the block for parking anxiously if there's not a space open, and sometimes park half a block away in a parking lot i'm not supposed to park in. i plan my meals around its availability when i'm on the nightshift. i use coupons to get it cheap. i religiously use the punch card -- one more and i get a free cup, worth up to $5 of creamy coolness. and let me tell you, i can practically tell by the weight in my hand how much of that self-serve goodness comes to a 5-spot. i've gotten good at swirling it into the cup _ though not as good as the place that Dava took us in the Valley, where the sweaty girl with glasses had it down to an art. I get the sugar-free flavor usually -- right now it's mint, a favorite. before that it was vanilla, which i swirled with a bit of peanut butter or reese's peanut butter cup, whichever was available. they had blueberry once and that was amazing -- I would cut that with a bit of plain vanilla, which is my favorite to mix any flavor with. Two scoops of almonds for topping. Then to the register, where the girl knows me well enough to comment when I cut bangs. She's blonde and bossy and orders the teenage boys around, saying stuff like " have to respect the customer experience" or something exactly that bad but i can't remember exactly what. i can't wait until i'm out the front door of the store to take my first bite. the cup fits in my cupholder but rarely leaves my hand despite some fairly demanding driving maneuvers, for which i suck on the spoon while i spin the car around, a pacifier for the minutes between me and my froyo habit is completely out of control.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I'm still on the diet, but I made an amendment. At the end of all-protein days, I get a cocktail.

There's some cucumber in there. Muddled with Pimm's I bought at Silverlake Wine. Lemon juice. Stevia instead of sugar.

I made a ghetto shaker with that blue plastic cup. The recipe called for fruits I did not have.

I improvised with an orange and some cucumber spears. I forgot the mint. Guess I'll have to make another.

Oh, and in the meanwhile, I was burning the shit out of some chicken sausage. Which is how we like it.

One for Peeshie, of course. Here's how I figure it: regular cat food is like terrible hot dogs. Fancy chicken sausages with spinach and fontina are probably more like fancy cat food than I know.

And here's what tonight looked like. Someone should recycle those fucking newspapers. (Zoom into area the sausages are pointing to see the hilariously embarrassing catalogue that arrived in my mailbox this week.)

Nevermind all that, here's what you really come here for.

What's up DJ Peeshie Mamani? This photo captures her wild hillbilly twitch that happens sometimes when she's alarmed, where half her face goes back. She's such a jumpy kitty.


Monday, June 6, 2011

I had to choose between paying rent and continuing on a diet that I can't afford this week.

Guess who's living on borrowed rent?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The kitchen at my house has seen remarkably little action lately. I'm on the Dukan Diet. I eat mostly deli meat, yogurt and various meats. The one thing I consistently cook every day is a batch of oat bran pancakes, which are not very delicious. But I've lost 8 pounds in a week. And I'm determined to keep going.

This diet has made my food fantasies run amok. I remember foods I've eaten in hopeless elegies. I can't stop thinking about tacos. Do you think tacos will remember me the next time I move to kiss them hello? Or will they look at me, pause for a moment, and walk away feeling certain they'd never met me? Will I chase after them? Or will I just wince and walk in the opposite direction. Oh, tacos.

Sigh. And all I do is tweet about the diet. Which makes me one of those horrible boring people who talks about their diet all the time. Oh well.

The goal is that, eventually, I'll be able to eat what I want after miraculously attaining my goal weight and stabilizing my body and my metabolism in such a way that I won't immediately balloon again.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sometime not long after I posted that I would eat out of my pantry for the next week as a culinary vow of poverty, I completely changed my mind and decided to go on a very expensive diet. Luckily, enough of it is posted all over the Internet that I don't need to buy the book to do it (Amazon's free peek is really quite generous sometimes). Because I'm broke, remember? Now I'm spending my dwindling funds on meat _ pricey when you're as picky as I am about eating organic, no hormone, free range, thrilled to be killed animals _ and eggs and lowfat dairy products.

So this was Day 1. I ate plain nonfat greek yogurt for breakfast. This was hard because I had already bought the packages that have the delicious shot of blueberry-acai on the side... which I love so much. But I threw that fruit right out.

For my three lunches _ yeah. seriously, three. _ i rolled up slices of pricey, high-end deli meat from Trader Joe's with laughing cow cheese and pickles. In all, I think there were 7 or 8 slices of meat, 3 triangles of cheese and 3 pickles eaten. I'm dubious that this all-you-can-eat meats idea is great, but I'm choosing to believe.

(Then I went to the worst yoga class on earth, where I didn't even break a sweat because it was so... touchy feely and deep-thinking, and the weird instructor kept saying "there is no such thing as good news or bad news" and then he would bash media and say stuff like "you can believe CNN or believe in you"... causing my inner yogi to silently shriek: "Look, dude, you wanna take this outside?! And people of Crunch's 7 p.m. yoga class, please believe CNN over this guy and his intolerable beanie!" But I digress.)

For dinner I came home and made a delicious dinner of shrimp that I was too wildly hungry for to photograph. Shrimp with basil, oregano, garlic, lemon juice and feta cheese. Oh, and I ate the weird oat bran pancake from the diet for dessert because I think it's the only fiber this diet has for the first 10 days. Hopefully I find a way to make that taste better; my addition of a packet of stevia and a squirt of lemon were undetectable.

We've officially exited my comfort zone on what I'm willing to blog about. Welcome to my diet shame.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I've woken up to my most common Sunday morning regret: I overspent this weekend. Just like the weekend before it, and the weekend before. I went to dinner, the theater and drinks and just like that, I'm out three figures. Not that I have any regrets. But compensations will need to be made.

So, this will be my week of salad days -- not my youthful heyday, but the week where I will scrounge up scraps and bits to make it to the next payday.

First, the fresh vegetables and the leftovers have to get eaten up.

Baby arugula mix buried under the "Healthy Seven Vegetable" mix from Trader Joe's. Topped with raw mushrooms, feta, olives and walnuts. Dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. Leftovers from a trip to Darya to celebrate a friend's soon-to-be new baby: leftover basmati rice and my new favorite kabob there, the Naderi kabob. Filet mignon, no less. I have no shame.

And an odds and ends salad that I had earlier this week, as if I knew this penance would come due: smoked herring, tomatoes, celery, green onion, parsley, lemon juice. Yum.

This will also be the week where I consider, for the umpteenth time, moonlighting at Whole Foods. Ugh.

Stay tuned. I have a feeling there'll be lots of posts about weird food that gets tossed together this week.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Did I ever tell you about the time that I attempted the world's most delicious kale salad? I did! There were a few things I'd never cooked with before, chief among them, this beast.

The object pictured here is exactly as oversized as it appears. Bigger than my big knife, dwarfing the coffeemaker.

I'll admit, at this point I felt a vast and deep intimidation. This thing is freaking huge and I was eating papaya for a week.

The dressing for this kale salad required an unholy amount of sweetener and an unholy amount of oil. I balked -- which is the problem I usually run into with baking. If the recipe says 8 tablespoons of butter, I just can't bring myself to do it. Which is why I can't bake for crap. I'm always trying to substitute milk for cream or Splenda for sugar and it always comes out awful. Other people's food/emotional problems manifest as eating disorders, mine manifest as cooking disorders. Or cagey rebellion, if you will.

So, I skimped on the oil and used a few tablespoons of sugar instead of 1.25 cups of cane juice. I dressed the kale with it and let it marinate overnight. It looked like this.

Admittedly, this was a lot of kale for one woman to eat. It took a week, but it got eaten.

This was how I liked it best. Instead of making corn salsa, I bought Trader Joe's and it gave an extra sweet punch that this dish needed after I skimped on the sweet dressing. I liked it over a mix of butter lettuce and radicchio. Plus walnuts, which I've learned are always great on everything.

In all, it was a pretty amazing salad.
Like most people who spend a good deal of time in the kitchen, my best teacher is failure. This morning I awoke uninspired. Then I thought of the delicious breakfast of fried egg, tomato and big basil leaves I ate wrapped in fresh lavash on a recent vacation in Palm Springs. My mouth watered with the memory and I went into the kitchen, remembering that I still had some of that lavash bread left and everything else on hand.

But when I picked up the bag of bread, I saw that it was polka dotted with a bright mold. Sigh. I went to the fridge for the basil and saw that it had wilted into a dark, unhappy mass (and then I cursed myself for putting it in the refrigerator at all--stupid!). Sigh.

But I would not be thwarted so easily! Fail number one leads to idea number two! There are always certain things that can be found in my home, and these are the makings of a Greek omelet -- though I don't think I'd ever actually attempted that dish before. I whipped up some eggs, topped them with crumbled feta, rough chopped some tomato and olives and thought I was on the path to breakfast redemption. But when I went to flip the omelet closed, I saw the not-so-delicious image above. I'd burned the damn thing black.

Oh well, I tried. At that point I told myself that I'll have to cook it over a much lower heat next time, and maybe use oil instead of butter to grease the pan. And then I put on cutoffs and went down to the newstand for my paper and ate tofu chilaquiles at Fred 62. Sunday saved.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A virtuous _ and almost completely pre-made _ vegetarian dinner, starring pre-made brown rice and cumin garbanzo beans from Trader Joe's. A salad of heirloom tomatoes and shallots. Torshi, or pickled vegetables (cabbage and cauliflower, mostly... and mostly eaten before a picture could be snapped), that my grandmother made in Tehran and my mom brought back for me in the specialty food-packed suitcase.

Monday, March 7, 2011

This is what post-spinning class weakness looks like.

Zankou Chicken's half chicken plate, with hummus, pickled beets, spicy peppers, diced tomatoes and garlic paste of the Gods. Though there's plenty left in the fridge, I'm so full it hurts.

Even Peeshie's eyes half-close in pleasure when she eats Zankou.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday Brunch at home. Runny eggs with very yellow yolks, cooked in olive oil and salted with parmesan. Served over creamy polenta and asparagus. Hot coffee. Not pictured: fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I am really into polenta right now, the soft and creamy variety. And I've found the world's easiest way to make it. Crumble the pre-made Organic Trader Joe's Polenta that comes in tubes into a pot with a bit of milk and a touch of butter. Whisk it over heat until the clumps break down into a smooth mass. Garnish with grated parmesan and cracked black pepper.

I'm sure someone's Italian grandma would slap me with a wooden spoon for doing it this way. But it's delicious and too easy not to pass on. And only 70 calories per serving of polenta (plus maybe 150 for the fats that make it luscious; worth it).