Archive for August, 2010

A pig’s breakfast (and lunch and…)

August 24, 2010

After several days of only having kefir and coffee for breakfast, I was feeling very slow and “off.” I’m not really a morning person, and I have trouble eating a lot before I’ve been up and had my coffee, but on my trip I had found a nice peace with the morning and was really getting stuff done before 10am. So, to get my British morning mojo back, I returned to the breakfast of choice of the scene of the crime.

Mini Fry-Up

CSA tomato, with a free-range egg and pre-cut mushrooms from Wegman’s is apparently the recipe for my morning energy. Add whole wheat sourdough toast and coffee and eat. (Better than the bizarre, huge breakfasts they used to show in the ads, no? Not a frosted mini-wheat in sight!)

Part of this complete breakfast!

We’re also sticking to our resolution about packing our lunches. So here’s my lunch, all packed up and ready to go and looking like a confused stop light. Packed last night and photographed this morning in the light streaming in from the kitchen window.

Mixed-Up-Stop-Light lunch

The beets and gratin are, of course, from Sunday’s extravaganza. The beans in the middle are left over from the veggie side from last night’s dinner.

Piggie with a Pot Roast

Although the white balance is kinda FUBAR, I made the Rosemary Beef Roast from Better Homes and Gardens Simple Slow-Cooker Recipes. I think I’ve been underrating this book in my mind somehow since the first few things I tried from it came out a bit like 1950s food. There are some real gems in there, and this is one of them. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it’s local, wandering-the-hills, farmer’s market beef. That gives any pot-roast an advantage. But the rest was just normal mushrooms and onions and bottled roasted red peppers and canned tomatoes. Maybe it was the fresh rosemary that made a difference? At any rate, I’d serve this one to meat-eating company with no qualms. I replaced the cous-cous with quinoa, which I think was an improvement, even gluten aside. The roast itself is very rich and I think couscous would have made the whole thing too heavy. We had it with a Sangiovese and CSA green beans sautéed in olive oil and just steamed in apple cider vinegar. Classy piggies!


Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life

August 23, 2010

Although basically vacuous, I’ve always kind of liked that saying. It’s got so much hope. You can change the shit that goes wrong and you are not stuck in your patterns.

As perpetual students/people on the academic path, Mr. Piggy and I celebrate New Years in late August or early September. This is when we start over, get a clean slate, make our resolutions and take a breath before the year ahead. Things have not been easy. We were both in a set of bad patterns last semester and we have vowed to try harder and concentrate on life and not let it get away from us (and take our A-exams. We’re both going to take our A-exams. You heard it here first.) So we’ve lived this weekend as the beginning of the new pigs. New! Improved! Sty-cleaning! Less-procrastinating! Does-not-live-on-take-out-Thai-food! And we are trying very hard not to turn into this: It is hilarious, and genius and ENTIRELY TOO CLOSE TO HOME. But so far so good.

We brightened the sty up a bit. In the middle of cleaning, we went to pick up the CSA and found that they had Pick-Your-Own flowers (as well as cherry tomatoes) and we couldn’t resist. So even though the living room is still largely a mess, there are fresh flowers.

Flowers from the CSA

One of my most significant resolutions had to do with food. I have taken over the cooking. Sharing it was simply not working because Mr. Piggy doesn’t like cooking (although he loves baking) and would simply avoid cooking in favor of continuing to do physics until his hunger and exhaustion drove him to either order Thai food or cook pasta sauce at midnight. This made no one happy. Ben would rather do tasks I find abhorrent and disgusting than make dinner. So today, he fixed the broken toilet, and I went to the farmer’s market and made dinner.

Since it’s Sunday, I was a bit ambitious.

Summer Squash, Herb, and Rice Gratin

I absolutely adore Deborah Cameron’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I think if I had infinite time, I might try to make everything in that book. I made the gratin above to try to use up summer squash. I used yellow squash rather than zucchini, and, of course, made the bechemel with gluten-free flour. My first bechemel! I also used fresh herbs and shallots and the flavor was surprisingly mild as a result. I offer one correction to the description in the book. It describes this as “filling but not at all heavy.” That’s a lie. It’s heavy. Wonderful and amazing, but rich and heavy.

Vinegared Beets in a Nest of their Greens

To go with that, I made the Beets in a Nest of Greens from the same book using farmer’s market beets bought this morning. At the end, you sauté the beets in olive oil and balsamic vinegar and the vinegar turns into a glaze in the heat. They’re amazing, and you have just cooked and eaten a whole plant. Efficient!

I may have gotten just a tad carried away by the joy of being back in my kitchen after being away traveling, researching and helping out with Nana’s move. After dinner, I made muffins. 43 of them, to be precise.

Gluten-free bran muffins

They’re the Joy of Cooking bran muffin recipe, using Bob’s Red Mill GF flour and rice bran, and I added Thompson and golden raisins in equal amounts. Mr. Piggy says they are slightly better than “other bran muffins,” but I’m not sure whether to believe him since he hasn’t eaten a bran muffin in years owing to them all containing wheat. So if anyone wants to be a more reliable witness, we’ve got 30 of the suckers in the freezer and 8 on the counter.

While all the above food was happening, Mr. Piggy was fixing the upstairs toilet. Around 9pm, he announced that it was fixed. We rejoiced. At 9:45pm I decided I would clean the downstairs bathroom before I blogged and went to bed. At 10pm, the downstairs toilet broke. We had two functioning toilets for 1 hour. I guess we know how Mr. Piggy’s going to spend his Monday evening…