Tag Archives: Food

Foodie

I really don’t think I’ve been fully converted to foodiedom–I still give in to the occasional pop tart or box of mac n’ cheese.

However, I’ve noticed recently that there are a few things at the grocery store that have moved from “that’s fancy and mysterious” to “that’s the only kind I want now.”  Don’t worry, I’m not at the level of truffle oil.  But, I’ve just noticed…a couple things.

Here’s a list of a few of my new norms:

** Clausen dill pickles:  I honestly think these are the greatest dill pickles ever created.  But they’re slightly more expensive because they’re not preserved by heat–so they are in the refrigerated section rather than the center of the store.

** Block cheese:  If I tried to figure it out, block cheese is probably less expensive than the pre-shredded stuff.  Regardless, I only like the block cheese and prefer to shred it myself.  Tastes fresher, melts better.  Could be all in my head, but that’s okay.

** Fresh mozarella cheese:  Have you tasted this?! Have you ever made a pizza with this?!  I’ll never go back.

** Local eggs:  we can buy eggs from two of our friends that keep chickens–brown eggs, blue eggs, white eggs.  They’re so good!  I was super skeptical about there being any difference between fresh and store-bought eggs at the beginning.  Well, guess what?  There’s a huge difference.  HUGE.  If I can help it at all, I want to always try to get fresh eggs or have hens of my own.

**Cheerios:  This is actually Atticus’s preference.  He says there’s just something wrong with generic brands.  Is this true?  I don’t know because I never eat cereal.

**Greek-style yogurt:  Apparently, I’m skin-rash-over-entire-body allergic to the strawberry greek yogurt at our store.  But I still buy any of the other flavors–a big tub once a week.  I never liked yogurt before I tried the greek style and now it’s something that actually gets me to sometimes eat a breakfast!

**Heavy whipping cream:  Atticus grew up in a family that made real whipping cream for, like, every meal or something insane.  I had no idea that there was anything other than Cool Whip in the world before we were married.  I’m fully converted.

Are there “special” foods that you only buy now–things that you never really were into or knew about before?

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Breakfasts

What’s the best breakfast?

If it was up to Atticus, it would be homemade cinnamon sugar oatmeal.

If it was me, it would be leftover chicken pot pie with a little side of ketchup.  Don’t be a hater.

One thing we can agree on, there is one very special breakfast that must be made every weekend.

“Frou-Frou Fancy French Cookbook Bismarks”

That’s not really their name…but it’s what we call them since I got the recipe from a gourmet cookbook that has recipes for things like seviche along with other recipes that regularly call for duck liver and anchovy fillets.

So, if you’re in the mood to try a new breakfast, try some “Frou-Frou Fancy French etc.’s”

1/2 c. flour

1/2 c. milk

2 eggs

1 stick butter

Put butter in large baking dish and place in oven set to 475 degrees.  While butter melts, combine other ingredients to make batter.  When butter is melted, pout batter into hot, buttery pan.  Bake 12 minutes.

Roll bismark up, pour a little of the remnant pan butter over top, sprinkle a little lemon juice and powdered sugar if you like, and cut into servings.  Top with fruit and whipped cream, jam, syrup, or try a savory bismark with sausage and cheese.

Short-hand recipe: You batter the butter then butter the batter.

Anyone got a good breakfast I can try?

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Grains I Have Loved

Did you know there’s a magical world of grains?  Did you?  Because I didn’t until about three years ago when I started to love cooking.

Cooking was not something I particularly liked to do before then.  I mostly got through college and grad school through the strategic use of Taco Bells and large pots of Sunday-made Japanese curry.

But, then I got married to Atticus and suddenly I became very interested in every single way I could give something nice to him.  And, through cooking, I figured out how to make really tasty, really healthy, really fantastically interesting food.  Plus, I was shocked at how much fun it was!

I also discovered that the world has so many kinds of real food! And when I say “real food” I mean food that came directly from the ground.  Before 2008, I knew that wheat could make bleached flour and rice was white.  If I was feeling really fancy, I could tell you that multigrain bread had multiple kinds of mysterious… well…grain.

Since then, I’ve discovered many more magical grains–

1. Basmati rice:  the only true Indian food rice.

2. Cous cous:  what the “easiest thing in the world to make”?

3.  Quinoa:  someday I will grow it in my garden–it’s the prettiest grain plant I’ve ever seen.

4. Barley:  can really make a vegetable beef soup.

5.  Wild Rice:  not only does it taste good, it looks good too!

6. Semolina:  Atticus is slowly converting me to hot cereal breakfasts through the use of semolina.

7. Pearl tapioca:  Okay, okay, so it’s really just cassava starch and not a grain.  But it sort of looks like a grain!  And it helped make the best cherry pie I’ve had in my entire life (Thank you Atticus and your baking skills!).

Are there any other amazing grains I’m missing out on?  Because, I’m sort of in love with them…

Pretty Quinoa, huh?

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The Price of (Healthy) Food

Today is Monday and, as every Pinto-Atticus family knows, that means that Newsweek is coming in the mail.  And from the looks of its preview articles online, the main story this week is about the Food Gap in America.  You know, things like:  “How is it that Americans on welfare are at a huge statistical risk of being obese?”  or “The new American elitism–buying local/organic.”

I’m hugely interested in the whole thing, to tell you the truth.  But, I’m especially interested in, of course, what a “healthy” diet costs.

Last year, I did the great CSA experiment wherein I discovered that for a family of 2 living in semi-rural Oregon, paying $500 for a produce share in a local organic farm actually kept our total food costs the same or up to $25 a week lower (including that initial big pay-out into the analysis).

Which was innnnteresting.

Today, I bring you another tidbit from the fruits of my research on the cost of a healthy, American food budget. Continue reading

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(Not-totally-but-kind-of) Epic Fail

Just so you know…

Chiogga beets, while they may look like beautiful rubies when you pull them from the ground…

though they may have perfectly concentric rings of white and red when you slice them….

and produce the brightest fuchsia colors when you grate them…

They turn into a nasty brown-green pus when you apply any sort of heat.

I’m sorry borscht recipe.  You may taste like awesome, but you look like moldy mud.

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CSA Experiment update:

Mmmm. Veggies

Mmmm. Veggies

For the past two weeks, our weekly CSA farm notes have been apologetic, assuring us that they were just waiting for some more sunny days to let the vegetables take off and then we’d “see the boxes fill.”  This was a bit of a shocker since we already were overwhelmed with the “lightly loaded boxes.”  Well, this past Friday, we got a little hint of what a full box means*…

And I’m shocked but giddy to report that our grocery bill for this entire week was exactly: $10.23 

Actually, our Saturday “reload” bill was only $5.03 for the week, but then we concocted an “Iron Chef” competition with some friends to help us use up the vegetables before we head to CA on Friday.  We decided to make a veggie lasagna…and well…the cheese put us over $10 for the week.  That’s just what cheese does.

BUT STILL!  I mean, we honestly did not need anything other than milk, bread, and a $1 can of spaghetti sauce on Saturday.  Crazy.

CSAs: Forcing you gleefully into a rockin’ budget since the 1980s.**

*Namely, 3 huge cucumbers (the best I’ve ever had.  Ever.), 2 pints of blueberries, one HUGE walla walla onion, a bunch of green onions, 2 heads of lettuce, 6 large tomatoes, huge zuchinni, huge summer squash, 13 carrots, 2 head broccoli, 1 head cauliflower, 7 beets, parsley.  That’s in addition to the veggies we still had from the week before: 5 carrots, 1/2 onion, 2 bunches of green onions, swiss chard, summer squash, 6 turnips, 3 beets, 1/2 pint of strawberries, and a whole lotta snap peas.

**”Community supported agriculture began in the early 1960s in Germany, Switzerland, and Japan as a response to concerns about food safety and the urbanization of agricultural land. Groups of consumers and farmers in Europe formed cooperative partnerships to fund farming and pay the full costs of ecologically sound, socially equitable agriculture. In Europe many of the CSA style farms were inspired by the economic ideas of Rudolf Steiner and experiments with community agriculture took place on farms using biodynamic agriculture. In 1965, mothers in Japan concerned about the rise of imported food and the loss of arable land started the first CSA projects, called teikei (提携) in Japanese – most likely unrelated to the developments in Europe.

The idea took root in the United States in 1984, when Jan Vander Tuin brought the concept of CSA to North America from Europe.”  ~Wiki Pedia

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C.S.A. stands for…

Community Supported Agriculture

AND

Cheerful Spousal Approval

(after my well-presented excel spreadsheet calculations of reasons we should be part of it)

AND

Current Spending Action

(since I ran out the door to sign up and pay for our farm share 5 minutes later…and it was a big hit to the pocket…but will save us money in the 5-month long run if we can stay disciplined.  Actually, we could have done a monthly billing and made it less drastic, but we had the money saved so I decided to just put it all down and stop worrying.)

AND

Continuous Summer Arrivals

(of local, fresh, varied produce in large weekly quantities from June to October)

AND

Culinary Support ASAP!

(since I have no clue how one eats a fennel bulb, bok choy, parsnips…)

YET, EVEN SO, I

Cannot Stand (the wait till our first) Arrivals!

We’ll be getting most of our veggies (and hopefully most of our grocery bill’s worth of food) from a beautiful place called Winter Green Farm this summer.  Continue reading

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