Thursday, May 8, 2014

Feet without a Way

Too frequent these feet fight restless
Flight to fight and a seat to take
Especially in the waning days of Spring
When weather is bettered by lingering light
Prospects for longer walks and journeys apart.

But finals and life's lusting
Too late to be beginning
Where, sun, is reminding me?
But waiting to wake up for the better
Weather coming in the wake.

Alas, all dreams and dire things
Great truths and false warnings
Why can't reality, hope, and these little things:
Flings, fellowships, and fruits of baking
Just fill the gap between paths?

Well it has been a short while, while life has been wild
But here are a few notable kitchen events
Between the short-on-time, ever-questionable sautee streak.

Spring Vegetable Fritata,
Mesculin mixing
Sweet Potatoes toasted and tossed in...
 Real food, like a respite to real life.

An Olive Oil Cake
Frosted with Peaches and Butter
In Cream of the Crop Cake
Spreading the sense of better to come.

And finally a second pie to replace a canceled plan and a Thursday less ordinary
Fresh with Parmesan, Fiddling Ferns, Mushrooms, and soy crumbled

And Cheers, all around, to a soon to be walk abroad
And then
Lazier ones
Just in town.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Walking in Circles

Walking, not wandering, deliberate circles
From here to Pi
A pie for one
A Friday night with purpose
So don't call my evenings a bore
For they bear meaning
Whenever I make them so

Circular and continuous? Too much to take out of an odd-shaped Pizza pie?
Spring and me - confused and lost at a foggy cross-street

So from a hectic week, so slow to pass it seems time blurs by
I topped it off with a treat I've been meaning to try:
Pizza, homemade, not grilled but that's soon for another day.
A meal to round out a week, square off a semester, and make whole a fractured year

But wait, finals is still only 2 weeks near...
Recalling when Pizza was fun, not the glutenous fear which so long ruled my habits
Pizza Friday will rise again, like Pasta - pronto!

And cheers to a summer, superior, and more evenings spent slowly, 

Pizza Pie, simply tried, so only the tips to slice up some spice in life:
The First-Take Pizza Pie

  • If you find yourself short on cheese but rich in Tofu (a strange situation, this I know) Try mashing up your tofu as follows:
Tofu Ricotta Salata
Combine 1/2 block fork-mashed tofu with 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar, or less to taste, 1 tsp ground sea salt like the beautiful Pink Hawaiian Sea Salt I slowly deplete - alas. Add Pepper and a spritz of lemon juice and mix, setting aside to let the flavors meld. It makes a mean vegan cheese on pizza!
  • Roast your veggies before addition! Roast broccoli, Onions sliced thinly, and red peppers with a splash of Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar make a great topping - and appetizer...
  • Pre-bake your crust! Overloading be damned, you will not find a crisp crust without a pre-bake (and a quick pricking with a fork) espescially if you like me think of crust as more of a means of transport than a pizza-lead.
  • Bake it hot! Preheat to at least 450F and reduce towards the end of cooking, it makes a crisper crust.
So walk away from the pizza stay, a Box and grease stains abound. Sure, I love a good pie from a reliable parlor but find in the middle, so many more mediocre.
Make pizza: a rounding experience. Or square, if Sicilian is what you prefer.

Lesson learned?
A good pie cries out for a meal al-fresco but a chili spring will do.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Slow the Pace

Too fast these few weeks past
But too slow the steps towards their end
A sunday morning: time to grasp
All that was within

So here, a simple bowl of porridge
Savory, not sweet
to savor the arrival of spring, finally for sure
and glaze over the past time, since last,
When writing
and Watching, seated back
Weren't within.

Savory Balsamic Breakfast Porridge
~for One~

2 tbsp Rolled Oats
1 tbsp Dense grain (Amaranth, perhaps Quinoa)
2 tbsp Steel-Cut Oats
1 tsp salt
Curry powder, cinnamon, cloves, rosemary to taste
1 tsp fennel seed
1/8 cup wheat bran
optionally 1.5 tbsp Hemp protein

1 small dried fig, sliced thinly
1/4 onion sliced thinly
2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 tbsp water
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tsp honey

I prefer to soak my grains overnight, so adding them to a pan with spices and 1 -1 1/2 cups water I let them sit overnight. While they boil in the morning, after about 10 minutes on low heat, add the protein and certainly the bran.
Now begin to caramelize the onions over medium heat, then adding the salt and pepper and balsamic vinegar, reduce to low heat and watch. if it thins too quickly, add water. Add the figs while still thin and continue to reduce until sticky and viscous but not adhering to the pan.
Pour atop your hot porridge and swim in a salty-sweet spring morning in an Italian balsamic haven.

Next time I walk to Italian
I'll be sure to sample the Oats
-Maybe Farro - farina -
A Balsamic Polenta might do!

Dont ever let life get by the wayside in lieu of a desire to make light of it.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Walking the Line

"Vacation" vanished
Wallet laid waste
Friday, leaving me famished
My feet weary and worn.

A new bicycle to build, a frame and two wheels
Little more, and still
Like this weary wanderer on two feet
Walking the same paths but new to stray

Normally so frugal, untiringly brutal
But sometimes we must rust and make right
A week tiring and outwardly quiet
But inwardly tired and spent lying
That blandness is better than comfort and flavor

Spring's coming both late and premature:
It's still cold in late march and too soon for spring
Still, too cold for this date, and grey in lieu of green.

A spring Chicken, complete with harvests both past and "present"
The finest Roast Chicken for one You've had since fall.

Four Season Spring Chicken
  • 1 Bone-in Chicken Thigh (1/2-3/4 lb)
  • 1 Handful chopped Kale
  • 1/4 of a small butternut squash, halved and sliced 1/2" thick
  • 4-6 Cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup Button Mushrooms (or preferred variety), halved
  • 1/2 small onion, sliced
  • 1 small Radish, sliced
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped red cabbage
  • 3 Tbsp Rye or other such liquor - white wine? (Stock would work fine too!) to de-glaze.
  • 1 tsp Mirin
  • Salt and pepper as necessary
  • Ground sage, Herbs de Provence
  • Brown Rice to serve, perhaps petite potatoes roasted or mashed?

Fine Butternut Rye to deglaze. Better than straight, sweet and squash-y
Dredge Thigh in Salt and Pepper, keeping most of the skin on the exterior. Mix sliced squash with kale and radish, toss with Mirin, salt, pepper, and sage. Place in Parchment and roast en sac for 30-40 minutes at 400F until soft. Heat a pan in the meantime and separately a cast iron skillet or similar heat-retaining replacement for a brick. When hot, place thigh in hot pan and after a moment, cover with Parchment paper and top with second heated pan or brick. Let cook for 2-4 minutes on high heat before uncovering and reducing to medium high. Add vegetables uncooked and deglaze with liquid of choice. Remove from heat after 3-4 minutes and (assuming the roast squash mixture is soft) add to pan and remove all ingredients in pan to Oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. After this time, set to broil for approximately 5 minutes, careful to allow Thigh to remain exposed to heat and not to allow the contents to burn. 
Serve atop starch of choice and spoon any juices from pan onto chicken before serving.

Lesson learned?
Plan ahead, don't burn the Knife Handle, and all things will come out as hoped in its thaw.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A walk across the Green

Green is Spring
Sung of, sought for
Missing, this spring,
Winter giving war.
Well Thursday marks Spring's march
and in the spirit of its green
Monday, St. Patrick's Day
I may have foregone the Corned Beef
But gave in, instead, to the stew
Maybe the last of winter's hearty few.

Steak, root vegetables, and a dark strong brew: flavors to bolster a feverish march to March's mend
Plans for a Corned Chicken and Cabbage-take-on on the beefier Pot Au Feu
And a simply satisfying Red-wine and Lentil braise, with eggs roast roots, brown rice, plus a few...

A week to seek simplicity, grounding, and keep warm in warmth's lieu.

Quickly-stewed Beef and root Pot au feu

  • 1/3 lb Beef, stew or otherwise
  • 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup cubed Rutabega
  • 1/2 cup diced Fennel Bulb
  • 1/2 cup chopped greens (kale, etc...)
  • 1 small onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (a clove or so)
  • 1 tsp each:
    • allspice, cumin, paprika, coriander and 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • Pepper and salt to taste
  • 1/2-1 tbsp Whole Wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock, or your preferred variety
  • 1/2 cup Good dark stout (Dark Truth Stout is a new favorite. Guinness perhaps, though?)
And your favorite starch to serve: good brown bread, Soda perhaps? I chose Brown rice to soak up the sauce.

Begin by browning the beef with onions and garlic over medium high heat for a few minutes. Add spices and remaining vegetables, cooking now on medium heat for several minutes, mixing to brown evenly. Add stout and stock, flour and any additions, increasing heat to high until bubbling and just boiling. Remove from heat and place covered in the oven at 350F for 20 - 30 minutes while the rice cooks. 
This recipe serves 1 and could easily be scaled. I suspect leftovers would taste wonderful so give a double bath a try!

Chicken, yet to cross, but stay attuned
The lentil, so simple, only pictures to allude
 But roasted vegetables, aplenty
Spiced in equal parts
Wine-Worthy Roasted Veggies

  • 1 tsp Cinnamon,
    • Cumin
    • Ginger
    • Pepper
    • Allspice
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • A drizzle balsamic vinegar
All per 1/2 Butternut Squash, 1/2 Fennel bulb, 1/4 Rutabega all chopped, sliced or diced.

And Learned, I did:
The value of meals made, unhurried; me, better-fed.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Walking a Little Italy

No, not a stroll in the city
Nor a flight from home to an Italian stay
What would be better on a grey March day
And far better than the taste of St.patricks a week early
in this Republic I call home.

Well canned tomatoes and a toss of pasta
Are things I call home, my childhood,
Life before the roam
So what better way to soothe a tired soul
weary feet
and shortness of patience with the way things are
than with a stew, a sauce, marinara
A vegetarian gravy, to some
With meatless-meatballs for the rest of you
or just me, I was
High atop Spinach Linguine
Veggie Meatballs in Red Veggie Gravy

  • 1 24-oz can diced tomatoes, something like San Marzano is always worth it
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced and diced
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato paste, dissolved in 1/4 cup water
  • 1 medium white onion, minced
  • 1 tsp EVoo
  • 1/2 bell pepper, minced
  • 1/2 yellow squash, minced
  • 1/2 cup Red Wine
  • any leftover veggies on hand, like Kale, bamboo shoots* (believe it or not)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Water to reach the desired consistency
  • 1 tsp Paprika + 1 tbsp Basil + Oregano
    • all I got is sum' Herbs de provence, desolee...
For the meatless spheres:
  • 1 Package Light Life meatless Beef
  • 1/2 cup Oatmeal
  • 2 tbsp Wheat Bran
  • 1 tbsp Minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp more of that herb mixture
  • 1 egg
To Begin
Preheat the oven to 350F for the baking of the meatless balls. Combine all ingredients and form into compact meatballs of your preferred size. Place on parchment paper and bake for 20-30 minutes, until browning and firm. They are tough to over-bake but it can be done.
Sautee the garlic and onions over low heat until aromatic and lightly sweating. Add squash and peppers, continuing to heat but over medium heat. After several moments add the wine and spices, allowing some of the liquid to boil off (about half). Now, I used a Crockpot but you could make this quickly in a stockpot on the stove or even in the oven. Add contents of pan to the diced tomatoes in the Crockpot and heat over high heat for 2 hours, reduce to low for up to 5 more hours until ready to serve. Nestle those meatless spherical jewels into the sauce, covering with a bit of the un-thickened liquid.
over Pasta, some frozen Spaghetti Squash (oh the wonders of my freezer) or Rice.
As a child I could eat disparaging amounts of Shells with Rice, topped with sauce.

Learning lessons?
We all grow up, some too soon and some too late. Despite disgust, sometimes the simplest comforts are those learned young.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Weary Wanderings...

Traveled and Tired
Feet flattened by the path pushing back
A variety of trials , tests, and ill-timed chores
Take toll

Terrible winters
Something looming:
The coming of spring?
Forcing me out when the timing
Finds ill.

Rushed meals and inspirations aplenty. The working-weekend meant many efforts and only more desire. Perhaps a stew is a thing for you. Tempting are leftovers of Tagine unfinished at first taste. Cultured, art we, who make yogurt for free
Plus the cost of Milk, maybe.

No recipes just thoughts today. A joyous welcome to March, to begin; Mardi Gras and a Tuesday to feel fat and satisfied. I pick up new hours at my bakery in the hopes of finding myself, not just a pocket full of change.
Penny for your thoughts?
These days I would trade all the pennies in two-pence to send home to the love I seek.
No, not Whole Foods.
But, I digress.

Here is my salute to the March, coming like a Lion:
Yogurt made with Heirloom cultures, reusable and unique from Cultures for Health

Tagine of Couscous, vegetables a-many. Too salty at first, but 40 minutes, too short, to make a Tagine-proper. A night in Tupperware made it all the better!

And a Nola Catfish Stew to share with you. Inspired by to search by the season, the recipe made anew
  • 1/2 White Onion, halved and sliced into 1/2" thick strips
  • 2 cans Diced tomatoes, low sodium but both with salt
    • But if not, add stock
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Evoo
  • 1/2 Yellow Squash or Zucchini, maybe diced
  • 1/4 cup Edemame, Lima Beans, or Green peas
  • 1 cup diced Celery + leafy ends chopped
  • 1/2 - 3/4 lbs Catfish filet(s)
    • I used a Cajun spiced packaged variety. It helped!
  • 1/2 cup Frozen corn, Freshly shucked if you please!

  • Bread to Serve, Steamed Kale to round out colorfully
  • More spice, always nice and a touch of cream? I added a splash of yogurt but too little to tell. Maybe add that white wine in the recipe, I had none (I'm a Red guy, really)

More promise of a success story this week, but for now a need of break.
Learning to rest and giving up exhaustion? Perhaps this shall be my lent.