Monday, November 7, 2011

Visualize This

I had a picture. I think I must have deleted it but I don't know why I would have done that. Sigh.
The market is slowing down.  At least in terms of what Debbie goes to buy. Every week she brings less and what she brings doesn't last as long. This is the first year that I haven't mourned the loss of peaches. I was happy to switch to apples and citrus. In the winter I do let go of my local values, accept the use of fossil fuels and eat mango or pineapple once in awhile but right now it's apples and citrus.
Debbie did bring me late season plums for a few weeks. They never got soft and they were sour. I was cooking a pork chop one night and got the idea to slice them and toss them in the pan. They weren't even in the pan that long and they softened and caramelized. Pork and plums. Couldn't have been better and I thought hmmm. I should blog about this. But I was hungry. I had already taken two bites and still wanted to take a picture and blog it. So I did. And now it's gone. Dang.
I did the same thing with plums and French toast. I tossed the sliced plums in the pan with the bread. Oh man. So good. I didn't take a picture.
I can never really do a lot of recipes and detailed technique posts because I cook so seat of the pants. But I usually have a picture. You're just going to have to use your imagination.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


This was supposed to be the summer when I made ice cream. I made two or three batches but didn't love them. My ice cream maker is old and never worked that well. Then Debbie and I were shopping one day and she showed me a book by her friend Charity. She doesn't seem to be blogging much but she did write this really sweet book about pops. She has a few others and I own most of them but I like this one the best.

I ordered some molds and made raspberry, chocolate pops. They were pretty good. And then I made cherry pops. Oh lordy. Soooo good! The taste of fresh cherries beats "cherry flavor" every time. Next comes coconut and the Mexican chocolate. It's all big summer fun.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Food

Debbie takes me shopping on Saturdays kind of late in the afternoon. By the time we get home I'm too burnt to do much more than cram everything into the fridge. When you work in a restaurant it's really important that you keep your fridge organized and, after years of that, I'm pretty hyper about it at home.
These days Debbie arrives with bounty from the farmer's market. Sunday
is the day to process all the food and get it put away.
But first.
Sunday morning is time for French toast and news talk shows and The Sims. I like French toast crunchy on the outside and custardy on the inside. I've started using Acme ciabatta because I can cut a piece and then cut it the way I would for a sandwich. It makes a thin piece of toast with lots of chew and crunch. Sometimes I have bacon or sausage and coffee. If you're thinking that's a lot of raspberries you're right. Debbie brings me a lot. They aren't expensive at the market and I needed to use them up because these were what was left from last week. I don't love syrup but sometimes I put a bit on the side of the plate and drag the toast through it. I put cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla in eggs and milk for the batter. Oh, and juice. It's a big breakfast. I take my time eating it.
I've also been making an effort to have a good dinner on Sunday evenings. With wine. I never used to have to effort to have wine but these days, I do. Crazy. And I don't always get it together.Very often I have a steak although I don't usually eat it all. I'll toss the leftover into something tomorrow. Eggs, or salad, or pasta. I also made a few extra roasted potatoes for the same purpose.
I didn't even dress the salad. Mostly out of laziness but also because I love the fresh, clean flavor of the lemon cucumbers and the bitterness of the watercress. There's a spring onion as well. I eat it the way you'd eat a relish in a way. Stacking a mouthful with a bite of steak. It's suppose to be a special meal but it's also about using thing up. Dressing the salad is one of those things I would always do if I was cooking for someone else. I really, really want to try to cook for myself the same way I cook for anyone else. It's just wrong that I don't.
I'm thinking about some vanilla ice cream with strawberries but I'm kind of full. The fridge has been somewhat tamed. There is more work to be done. But Caetano is singing and the wine has mellowed me. And it's Sunday evening. Time to light a candle and relax.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thoughts on Why and What

This morning I was reminded how important all the senses are when I cook. The burners on my stove stop cook unevenly. I'm always moving things around in the pan to and from hot spots. I put some butter in a pan to scramble eggs and walked away to do other things. I was listening for the sound the butter makes when it starts to bubble but I had set the pan too far forward, away from the hot spot, and the butter melted too slow and never bubbled. It was just beginning to brown. Brown butter has a wonderful nutty flavor so it wasn't a problem but the process had slipped past my ears.
These days my cooking is organized around what Debbie brings me from the farmers market. In the spring and summer she goes every day to buy stuff for work so when she takes me shopping she brings me things. She says there is a woman who shouts "watercress" at her when it's available. She always buys me watercress. It is my green of choice.
She knows I'm always going to want peas and peaches. She has been bringing me bunches of spring onions and asparagus but says these things are winding down. This week she brough a bunch of breakfast radishes. One week she brought me a huge bunch of kale because " it was only a dollar". I ate huge piles of kale for days. All my dinners are very green. It may be pasta, or soup, or just a plate full but it always has peas, asparagus, spring onions and watercress.
For the last two weeks she brought big juicy heirloom tomatoes. In the summer I tend to eat more cold food and I foresee salads filled with the pepper and bite of watercress and radishes. I bought some corn last week. So the colors on the plate are spanning out.
And we have entered the big bowl of fruit and yogurt for breakfast time of year. She brings peaches, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. I eat cherries for snacks. The abundance is joyful.
I started this blog because I thought it might be a way to kick up my writing and I thought it might be useful to document how I (a fat person) eats. Not all fat people eat the same way and I don't feel more virtuous because of how I eat. I eat for pleasure and nutrition. I just happen to like watercress and peaches.
When I first started writing I tried to look around and see what people were doing. There are SO many bogs now. And many of them look and sound the same. I'm not saying they're bad I just feel like they're missing something. Something authentic and raw. I'm not drawn to go back.
Cheryl sent my an interesting aggregate on which I found some muffins this morning, which I will making ASAP.
So the reasons for why are the same and the what is as rambling as ever.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

And then I remembered.

I thought I might write a cook book titled: Think Like a Chef but it's already been done. And I don't really think like a chef. I think like a cook and a kitchen manager. I'm not trying to show off. I'm trying to get it done with a minimum of waste.
Recently I decided I wanted to make ice cream. I have a not particularly good ice cream machine. I got it years ago, made a few batches and then it got put on a shelf. I had to wash off years of dust. I was a little dismayed by the number of egg yolks in most recipes. What was I gonna do with the whites? I don't like egg white omelets. They seem denatured. Or something. I could make macaroons.
There's not much more to say about the ice cream. I forgot how quickly milk boils over. I made a huge mess. The final product is good enough but slightly grainy on the tongue. Debbie says this is because my machine is as bad as I think it is and I'm not getting enough air whipped in. She suggests making the base a day ahead and making sure it's really cold.
Next time.
And. I bought too much whipping cream. I'd seen a few recipes, thought I knew what I needed and went shopping without a list. And. I don't really like whipped cream. There times when I like it. I like it on ginger bread. Especially warm ginger bread. I like it on strawberry shortcake, which I make with biscuits. So now it's Easter and I decide to make myself some strawberry short cake for desert. It wasn't a perfect solution because I'd have left overs and be eating it for a few days and I have the afore mentioned ice cream. And I'd lolled away the morning playing games and listening to the Sunday news talk. Then I did laundry.
I've tossed together a batch of biscuits so many times and so quickly. But I was tired and still had laundry to fold and a bed to make and I wanted to get it done. Dinner. I wanted to get it done.
I sort of badgered myself about how I'd make the biscuits if there was someone else here and I should take care of myself. But I was hungry and getting tired.
And then I remembered. When you make biscuits with cream they become scones. Hmmm.
Easter dinner.

Thin cut pork chop, smashed Yukon Golds and watercress, asparagus, spring onion salad with artichoke dressing. Glass of Cab. Ice cream.
Macaroons and scones coming soon. No waste. Lots of taste.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Last week I saw the first peas. There weren't many and they were kind of flat but I picked through and found what ended up to be about a third of a cup. Peas still make me so happy.
Since Mom was here I've taken to buying a one pound box of baby spinach almost every week. She loves it.
So dinner time arrived and I was cooking up a spring onion and some crimini, which I planned to put on pasta. I had some chicken stock out and I was cooking I realized I didn't want pasta. It's hot here and my appetite isn't big. I poured enough stock in the pan to call it soup. I did toss in a small amount of Fregula, the peas and some spinach.

It's so green. It screams spring.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Burger Time

I love burgers but I'm not that good at cooking them. Starts with me making the patty too think. I like them medium. I cook them too hot and too fast and they stay raw in the middle. Drives me nuts. One of my first jobs was cooking burgers. I was just getting the hang of it. I got hit by a truck and entered a long recovery period. Lost the job.
Today I had some grass fed beef, a great crusty roll, white cheddar cheese and big leafy lettuce, bit o mayo. Tomatoes are looking pretty bad right now sadly. So I did my best work. Started off with a hot pan but turned it down and cooked slow. Forced myself to leave it alone. Somehow it worked out. Kettle chips for the win. Carrots for the crunch.
Don't bother me.
I'm eating.

Monday, January 24, 2011

One Bowl

Years ago I read something about one bowl eating. I don't think it was a diet. I think it was a contemplative practice. The idea was to only eat what would fit in one bowl. I don't remember if they described how big the bowl could be but the idea of everything in one bowl charmed me. Might have been because I didn't always have that many dishes. For me it became a challenge of aesthetics and craft.
I've been thinking about it while cooking for Mom because I use more dishes to feed her. She likes soup and salad. I usually eat salad in the summer and soup in the winter. Or I eat pasta with lots of vegetables, or a sandwich.
One of my favorite things is cold salad greens and a few cold veggies of one kind or another, warm or cold protein and roasted potatoes. I like the mix of temperatures and textures. I like the simplicity of eating everything in one bowl.
When I eat in restaurants I prefer to lots of apps. I like variety.
Maybe it's all about not wanting to wash dishes.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


The holly-daze were a whirl. We ate out a few times. The Mommy soups were in rotation. I made fancy-ish dinners on the holidays. Shrimp salad and rissoto with scallops. Pork loin with sweet potatoes, apple sauce and brussel sprouts. Chicken and gravy.
I made myself a little crazy trying to have a variety of cookies for everyone. I thought I was going to have a little more help than I did and I wore myself out baking. So I didn't document.
I did enjoy it all. I make a few special things for Mom every year. Cherry blintzes, cinnamon rolls, ginger bread. I love the look on her face when I walk out of the kitchen with a plate full of something she loves. This year I made an apricot upside down cake. Huge hit.
I didn't know that Mom's favorite birthday cake was apricot upside down cake. I don't have any strong memories of them. But last summer I had an idea to make a plum upside down cake with almonds in the cake. I was making things for a neighbor who was a bit house bound. When I told Mom she talked about her birthday cakes.
I'd never made an upside down cake. They confuse me. They look like they're burning to me. The apricot was my second upside down experiment and I feel like I'm still learning. They both tasted good and they looked OK. I'm not even sure what I think should be better but I never feel confident when I'm making them. I use this recipe but I make a few changes.
We're back to soup and salad dinners because we like them. Mom requested spinach soup. I sauteed some onion, added a lot of chicken stock and then lots and lots of spinach. A bit of Grana at the end. Another hit with the Mommy. We still have a few cookies to eat. One day we were recounting what we had eaten in a day and it was largely fruit and vegetables.
Mom has a lifelong diet habit. Most days are a combination of indulgence and regret. She can eat way more sugar than I can. I find myself worried that she's going to get a stomach ache. Sort of a Freaky Friday thing.