Category Archives: food

Skip the lettuce

Every now and then I like a salad without lettuce. Here’s tonight’s version:

Diced base of green pepper / Small chunks of half a tomato / two celery stalks, chopped / 3 Tbs diced red onion / small handful of chopped endive / half a chopped avocado / one small cuke, peeled and chopped / chopped herb (cilantro or parsley).

Tasty with all kinds of dressings but my favorite is a tangy vinaigrette.

This is a single serving.

* * *

Great opportunity opened up last night: got a space at a writing retreat. I had moved on it late. It was full. Forgot about it. And then: ta da! I was first on the waiting list and a spot is mine!

Not only is it being held in my old stomping grounds just outside of Northampton in central Mass., it’ll be DAYS dedicated to writing and feedback. The timing couldn’t be better!

Brutally hot here again. Finn and I started our day in the lake!

I’ll be taking about a week-long break here.

Shovel and sweat

Just worked up a sweat putting a few plants in the ground (hyssop) and transplanting a few others (the rudbeckia that is asserting itself in the front bed). I’m done in! Not even as hot as it’s been.

Fortunately, I have reserves left to pick up a pen AND GO. And, to read.

PS. The full fat compensatory strategy to help eliminate sugar is, not over, but going to be subject to scrutiny now. Just joined Weight Watchers online (again). This morning while merrily munching away found out that half a cup of cashews is almost half my day’s allotment of points. See? Better to know these things.

Joy and Good Things

Friday’s First Joy: Wading with my guys at the lake. (Later, K and I will return sans Dog and take a dip and that’ll be another Joy) (autocorrect caps ‘Joy’ and ‘Dog’ on my phone – don’t you love that?)

While standing there in summer’s blue palm, another Joy arose — what else? — a vision of food.

Vichyssoise! Wouldn’t that be nice? I’ll make it with cream! (The sugar purge has begun and in honor of what works for me, some high fat allowances will be made).

This dish will also celebrate Anthony Bourdain. Maybe we’ll even watch his final episode while we enjoy it — then again, maybe we won’t. Another anodyne episode of “Anne with an E” (– a recent remake of Anne of Green Gables on Netflix) might suit the day better.

Soup recipe here.

Eight leeks is A LOT of leeks. Recipe calls for “whites only” and I wonder if I have included too much of the transitional green? — I’ll let you know.

Another Joy: a run to Whole Foods for ingredients (it’s the grocer closest to the lake). This always constitutes an exercise in both abundance and privilege. Look at those artichokes! The beautiful shallots!

Arriving home, yet another Joy: perennials. Rising up in the garden — a seemingly effortless miracle of return. Color and profusion. Soon there will be morning glories, too.

A surprising addition to this list: all the witty and astute and funny people on twitter. For example, George Takei. This morning I learned he has made a Cat-Trump app that’ll let you make videos. I think I better not get it.

Or, The Hoarse Whisperer.

“Tell me one good thing” is a weekly feature of his (hers?). After days of pithy and unavoidably depressing political commentary, the #OneGoodThing hashtag takes over. Hundreds of people respond and I often take the time to read dozens of them.

So, like him I’m asking my readers to tell me one good thing that happened this week. We all need this.

I’ll start: my sister’s new care arrangement will allow the aide to drive her around. This is terrific news!

Beets and radishes

Anyone who camps knows how even the most pedestrian meal is enhanced to a near-miraculous degree after a day in the wilderness. It happens all the time. “How can a bowl of pasta with canned sauce and chopped zucchini taste so good,” you wonder. And yet it does.

The visit to Salem was tense and then tenser. We didn’t manage to capture the cat. The aide had to leave a full hour earlier than expected. Plans had to be abandoned, limitations accepted. But before we got there, a fair amount of hostility was expressed. I spent a lot of time walking around the building, sort of wishing I smoked.

My sister blamed her temper on a transiting Mars / natal Sun conjunction and pretty much everything else on me.

She kept telling me to sit down and to stop moving. I kept suggesting that it might be time to put some pants on. The aide cleaned the kitchen. Then the bathroom.

My wish to get something done collided with my sister’s refusal to move. It’s often this way.

It’s a kind of wilderness, really — and I think it made the salad I made after getting home taste ridiculously good.

The gorgeous food blog, Harvest and Honey, inspired the choice of ingredients.

With the sweet, candy-like beets, the smooth and creamy avocado, plus a little goat cheese, chopped scallion, sliced radish and a handful of micro greens, it was beyond delicious.

Recipe (you hardly need one!)

1 large beet, roasted, peeled and diced*

1/2 scallion chopped, including white end

1 radish, sliced thin

1 1/2 Tbs goat cheese

Handful of micro greens

Dress with a tangy mustard vinaigrette (loaded with garlic).

* if you stow beets, post-roasting, in their foil wrappers in a large, unsealed zip lock bag, be very careful carrying the bag to the cutting board unless you want your kitchen to resemble a crime scene!

Two blessings and a soup

Blessing one: Finn was in the house when the large pin cherry on the lot line crashed into the deck. (So was I. I watched it fall).

Blessing two: the tree landed two feet away from the house. One branch was closer: about six inches!

I was also worried about the arbor vitae on the south side of the house, bowed as they were over some power lines.

After filling the feeders, freeing these shrubs of the cement-like clumps of snow and tying them up as best I could, I made soup. Delicious soup.

Stock: two beef bones, vegetable trimmings, a cup of red wine, two heads of garlic and S&P.

Soup: one sliced onion, two carrots, one potato, 1/4 c white rice, and a few Tbs fresh chopped cilantro, more S&P. Yum!!

Brisk walk and Catapults

How do I know if the robins I see are winter robins or early spring arrivals? They were pretty against the pewter sky. I wish you could see them in this picture.

Rain and then cold meant a slick treachery out there. I was underdressed in scarf, gloves and down coat. Nevertheless, these football fans braved the icy air to capture their excitement. The Patriots are going to the Super Bowl!

The rolling of the calendar into February catapulted me into sending some chapters (20) and a book proposal off to the literary agent that I met back in November. I didn’t want too much more time to go by. “Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life” said a country singer somewhere (just to keep the football thing going). You know I’ll be checking email obsessively until I hear from her.

I’ve got soup in the fridge and this guy for company. K will be traveling back from Moscow today. He’s been gone all week.

If you haven’t already done so on Instagram, wish me luck!

Deliciousness / Effort Ratio

Using packaged beef stock for this onion soup makes it ridiculously easy to throw together. It was so easy and so delicious, in fact, that it made me think that there should be a ratio of deliciousness to effort for recipes. This one would be off the charts.

EASY ONION SOUP

Sauté two onions (sliced in half moons)
add salt, pepper, thyme and
one box of beef stock.

That’s it!

Floating cheese toast nice but not necessary.