Friday, April 29, 2005

crockpot to the rescue

Today was a pretty good day - I drove to Sacramento, about 1 1/2 hours away and had lunch with a couple of friends. Knowing that it would be a crazy afternoon getting back in time to pick up the kids, etc., I started the crockpot before I left. I didn't feel like doing it because my morning was already busy - but this afternoon I was so glad I did. We were able to take Bella up for a long hike this afternoon knowing that dinner was taken care of.

One other thing I did before leaving for Sacto was score some tickets to see Tom Petty. He's playing at the Berkeley Greek theater (outdoors) in August - just three days before my birthday. So happy birthday to me, a little early.

Here's my recipe for vegetarian chili - adapted from the Silver Palate Cookbook "Chili for a Crowd" Recipe:

Vegetarian Chili

1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
¾ ounce ground cumin seed
1 ounce plain chili powder
2 tablespoons dijon style mustard
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried dill
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons red wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
2 28 ounce cans chopped tomatoes (do not drain)
2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup TVP (texturized vegetable protein)
1 small can sliced black olives
water as needed

Combine everything except olives in crockpot and cook on high for about 4 hours then reduce to low for another 4 hours or so. Add olives about an hour before you’re ready to serve. The longer it cooks, the better it tastes.

Serves: 6-8

Sunday, April 24, 2005

purple potatoes

Free on a technicality

Our dog is a constant source of amusement and tonight I snapped a picture of her doing one of her more entertaining Bellariffic moves. She is not allowed on the furniture and as you can see she is technically not "on" the couch. She still has one foot on the floor, it's all good - her reputation is intact.

Not a lot of cooking this weekend - but today I made a recipe from the Millenium cookbook - a potato torte with purple and yukon gold potatoes and a pesto made with arugula, pistachios and rosemary. very, very good.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

tulips Posted by Hello

my helper Posted by Hello

Today was another day spent outside gardening. Bella loves to "help" me. She's found it easiest to offer her help while sitting in my lap. She thinks she's a poodle. She's so happy on these sunny days when we can just leave the door open and she can come and go as she pleases. The rest of the time she is in need of her own doorman.

I started the crockpot this morning and spent the rest of the day outside. I know without Winter I wouldn't appreciate Spring so much. I'm really appreciating Spring these days.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Three word weekend

3 word weekend Posted by Hello

So my favorite radio station (KFOG if you're curious) does this call in thing on Mondays occasionally - describe your weekend in three words. Mine would be flowers, fire and feast (no, it doesn't require alliteration but it's more fun for me).

Flowers would be for the outdoor spring cleaning we did. Getting annuals planted and cleaning up the flowerbeds. Scrubbing the patio furniture and re-oiling the wood. Scrubbing the patios, cleaning off the ping pong table - just getting ready for spending more time outside.

Fire would be for the fire I almost started by leaving an oil soaked rag sitting on a wood table in full sun. I walked by as I was getting ready to take my daughter to a party and thought I'd take the rag in and rinse it off. I picked it up and found it was sizzling and smoking and about two seconds from bursting into flames. I got it before it left a mark on the table.

And finally - the feast would be the birthday dinner we had for my sister-in-law's 40th birthday. We had Indian food - split pea and lentil curry, eggplant curry, rice, cucumber raita, crackling cauliflower, chapati, pappadum and some fresh mango with pineapple. I was cooking for most of the week but it was worth it. We finished the evening with a vegan chocolate cake with raspberry cream cheese filling, topped with frosting and chocolate curls - of course all this leads to a fourth and fifth word - feeling fat. Oh well. It was worth it.

Food rant

I've had this food rant building in my head for a week or so. Recently I went to Safeway to get a prescription filled. I get all my prescriptions from Canada so I don't really go to the local pharmacy very often - this happened to be on the way for me. I'm not a Safeway shopper - I do most of my shopping at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. But I had a bit of a wait for the prescripton so I figure I could at least get a loaf of bread and maybe a few other groceries. I went through that bread aisle and every single loaf of wheat bread had high fructose corn syrup as one of the ingredients. Why? Why do pickles need yellow dye #5? When did our food get so polluted?

So that's how this food rant in my head got started. But then the other day I read one of my favorite columnists and he had it all there - everything I wanted to say. So I'll let him say it for me.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Corn Smut

Have you ever heard of corn smut? Doesn't it sound like porn for corn? Whatever - it certainly doesn't sound like something I want to eat.

One of my favorite restaurants is Millennium in San Francisco. It's a beautiful restaurant not far from Union Square. Everything on the menu is vegan - and delicious. They have two cookbooks out but it's pretty ambitous cooking - and let's face it, I'm not an ambitious cook (or blogger) lately. I keep checking the cookbooks out from the library but I've never made anything from them. It's the type of book where every recipe is really four or five recipes. Way too much work for me. But I love reading through the recipes and getting ideas here and there. One recipe made me stop in my tracks though - Huitlacoche-Polenta Roulades. That's just a fancy-pants way of saying corn smut with corn meal mush. Bon Appetit. I'm not saying I have to be able to pronounce something before I'll eat it but I saw this recipe just the day after reading this. oh. my. god. He isn't kidding about the smoker's lung - that just looks nasty. My enthusiasm for the Millennium recipes has been dampened dramatically.

But on a more pleasant note we went out to dinner with some friends tonight - Thai food - it was tasty and smut free. What more could a girl ask for? Tomorrow night I'm not cooking, again, because I'm taking my girls to see U2 in concert...rock on