Sunday, April 24, 2011

I'm using it somewhat differently, but I've been posting on my Tumblr lately; please check it out.

Monday, January 24, 2011

New years and old cameras

It's shameful how long it's been.
I won't bore you with the details and excuses of "there's been a lot going on in my life blah blah blah." Suffice it to say, grad school applications are in, job changes are in the works, and pretty much everything is up in the air. I'm hoping to take this time to "reorganize" my house, garden, life etc; but we all know how that goes, especially at this time of year.

Shortly before Christmas I randomly purchased a Minolta film SLR camera, and a couple lenses, on a whim. It's been fun to play with. I'm waiting on another roll to be developed, but I did get a couple decent (or at least interesting) shots from the first roll.

Here are some photos of tasty food we've cooked lately. The Star Wars cookie cutters were a gift I got my boyfriend for Christmas. We had lots of fun cutting, decorating, and eating the cookies! 

Star Wars cookies!

Preparing dough for the Star Wars cookies

Blackened salmon, collard greens, and salt-cooked potatoes

Fried tilapia with corn salsa and spinach & avocado salad

Red quinoa, Quorn 'chicken,' mixed greens

Eventually I hope to start using this blog for actual writing-- imagine that!

Friday, November 26, 2010

A California Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a happy and food-filled holiday, however you celebrate it! So far I've heard everything from traditional turkey to Indian buffet..

For me, Thanksgiving in California has come to mean one thing: first-of-the-season crab! Originally we thought about doing cedar-plank salmon this year, but with Dungeness crab at $6 a pound, that seemed like the obvious choice. The sides were more traditional: pumpkin bread, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce. All of which go surprisingly well with crab!

Pumpkin bread

Crab meat, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, pumpkin bread,
cranberry sauce, and Firestone 14
Somehow the cooking process this year was unusually easy and short, but we also don't have a lot of leftovers. I guess that's the trade-off.

I made the green bean casserole from scratch, really just meaning using a roux and broth instead of canned mushroom soup. I haven't had this dish a lot, so I don't have much to compare it to, but it was pretty well received. I used this recipe at For the Love of Cooking.
The cranberry sauce is one of my favourite Thanksgiving foods, and I love making it. It's so simple, so variable, and makes the kitchen smell awesome.

Fresh Cranberry Sauce
  • 1 cup sugar (I used half brown sugar and half turbinado)
  • 1 cup water
  • 12 oz cranberries (1 package, usually)
  • the fun part: orange zest or peel, chopped walnuts or pecans, chopped dried apricots or other fruit, cinammon, nutmeg, etc.
  • Dissolve sugar into boiling water
  • Add cranberries, bring to a boil; reduce heat, stir occasionally 
  • When cranberries begin to pop, stir in additional ingredients
  • Continue to simmer until it is no longer 'soupy'
  • Remove from heat, cool at room temperature, then chill in fridge before serving

The beer was Firestone 14, a special annual blend from Firestone Walker. It's a tasty beer but the alcohol taste comes on a little strong. Mark is aging a second bottle, we'll see if it mellows out.
All in all, a relatively low-stress, high-carb Thanksgiving-- as it should be! Happy holidays!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Kale and Pecorino Salad

I found this recipe in Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks blog, and it reminded me of a wonderful kale salad I had a while ago at Animal (that's right, they serve kale). I love kale. I love its curly leaves and bright green color. I love its earthy but not dirt-y flavor. I'm a big fan of kale chips, despite the meticulous cleaning, drying, and dipping required.

Garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, salt, pepper

This salad is a great use of fresh raw or lightly steamed kale. Very simply, it's shredded kale, cannellini beans, shaved pecorino romano, and a lemony dressing. I steamed my kale for a couple minutes since it wasn't a particularly tender variety, then tossed it with the other ingredients. It's nothing spectacular to look at, but the flavors of the kale, pecorino, and lemon come together perfectly. Try it, I promise you'll be pleasantly surprised!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Camarones con Ajo

I'm tearing myself away from watching Daria episodes to post tonight's super easy and delicious meal.

Somehow the lighting in my kitchen doesn't lend itself to good food photography. It frustrates me every time. I even tried to use a lamp for extra light, but I still get a weird yellowish hue. I'm trying my best though.

After much thought and consideration of my dangerously low bank account, I decided to forgo my initial idea of trying to make steamed buns/bao tonight (which I needed a few ingredients for) and came up with a Cuban-ish garlicky shrimp with black beans and rice instead. I substituted the traditional sour orange juice in mojo with grapefruit since that's what was in the fridge, and sautéed the shrimp instead of serving them swimming in garlic oil like so many Cuban restaurants do (not that it isn't delicious, but I'd like to live past 40).


  • 4 large shrimp (this was just for myself)
  • 1 head garlic
  • olive oil
  • 1 tbsp grapefruit juice (in lieu of sour orange mojo)
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup rice
  • 3 cups water
  • cumin
  • bay leaf
  • salt
  • pepper


  • In a heavy pot, combine rice and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. 
  • Slice the garlic thinly. Reserve some for use in the black beans.
  • Combine shrimp, garlic, olive oil, grapefruit juice, salt, and pepper in a plastic bag or container. Mix so that the ingredients coat the shrimp evenly. Refrigerate.
  • Heat another pot, add olive oil. When hot, add onions; sweat for a few minutes, then add garlic. Add beans and one cup water or stock, as well as cumin and bay leaf. Let simmer.
  • Heat a heavy skillet. Add shrimp and garlic mixture. Cook briefly on each side (1-2 minutes), or to taste - always be wary of overcooking shrimp. 
  • Serve shrimp on top of rice and beans. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I'm trying to flex my writing muscle - admittedly in part due to a somewhat disappointing performance on the AW section of the GRE - and since I never properly blogged my Central America trip, I'd like to start posting bits and pieces.

I'll begin with this piece on Granada, Nicaragua - our fourth stop, about two weeks into our six month journey. I'll go back to Costa Rica and my first impressions soon, especially since I kept the most rigorous notes, as usual, at the beginning. However, aside from the incomparable Guatemala, Granada is where I spent the most time and became most comfortable. I haven't finished this entry, but wanted to post the first part to motivate myself.

Monday, August 2, 2010

How does my garden grow..

I finally have a minute for a post.. or at least a hastily constructed photo post. Presenting the fruits of my labor- literally.

Peas! These grew incredibly fast. Definitely a keeper.

This cute little guy is currently about an inch long. Probably headed for a pickle jar. Yum.

Cilantro flowers- you're supposed to trim back the flowers to encourage leaf growth, but they're so pretty!

So.. I decided to let them grow and harvest the seeds for coriander.