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.