Monday, July 30, 2007

This CSA thing sure has exceeded my expectations. Hubby and I thought it would be a great way to support a local farm, eat more veggies, and spur some culinary creativity. Look at that picture up there. Look at what I made. I made pickles. PICKLES! I love pickles. Vinegar and salt are two of my favorite food groups, it's shocking that I've never made them before. Perhaps it's the space constraints of the one bedroom apartment, I've always assumed canning/jarring/preserving would be too much of a headache, however I do know the break down of assume so I gave it a shot this time. After two weeks of various types of cucumbers coming in our box, I had quite a stash of pickling cukes in the fridge. I made a fairly simple solution of white vinegar, salt, red pepper, dill (not fresh, I know I know, I really didn't want to go to Stop and Shop), and about six cloves of garlic, and a dash of Chinese five spice in place of pickling spice. I put it all together in the vintage jars my mother and I thought we would use at my wedding (instead they've been parked in her basement for three years). I parked them in the fridge and now it's time to wait. The waiting I could do without, particularly because Hubby and I will be in Portugal when they are ready to eat, so sad. But because I can't wait until the end of the month to know how they came out I enlisted a dear friend to try them out while she's looking after our cats. Hopefully they will be delicious, but if not at the very least they take one hell of a picture.

UPDATE: We opened the pickles early, before our trip and they we're fabulous!

‘I want my food to be food. I want my medicine to be medicine. I don’t want my food to be medicine’

This was a quote from the New York Times business section today, an article called "I’ll Have the Fish Paste Sushi With the Green Tea Rice". It's an interesting article about the food industry and everyone that is involved in the antithesis of the slow/whole/local food movements. While I admit I'll drink a Vitamin Water the day after some over indulgence, I am all about food being food. Look at those blueberries, a perfect example! They lasted mere hours in the house and were amazing, no artificial flavors, colors, or nutrients necessary, just little black and blue bits of edible summer time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

This my friends was the ending to a perfect day.
After a few rather fun/sorrow filled weeks, sweetie and I needed the kind of healing only the beach could bring. Instead of waking up as early as possible to drive to our favorite beach before the parking lots met maximum capacity, we opted to kick it old school, and ride the train to Manchester (by-the-Sea not to be confused with lesser Manchesters without a shoreline).
The ride was nice, the weather was perfect, and the water was less than excruciatingly cold. Perfect.
We had uncharacteristically planned ahead and our ride home was filled with anticipation for the yummy little critters in the crisper. I love mussels and I love how cheap they are, easily the most affordable seafood I'll put in my mouth. At the train station I asked Hubby if I should pick up a bottle of white wine for the broth, he said we probably didn't need it for a red sauce. While he wasn't entirely wrong, but I do regret listening to him.
We got home, and after a shower to wash off the saltiness I got chopping, onions, garlic, and ...drumroll ... fennel. I have never cooked with fennel before, it was a bit daunting. I have awful memories of blackjack gum as a kid so I've always stayed from anything even fainted anise scented, but this week I was feeling adventurous. I was late picking up or CSA box for one reason or another and by the time I made it down the hill the "supplemental items" tables was pretty picked over. There were some green beans, and more lettuce, and a few lonely fennel bulbs? plants? (how do you discus more than one unit of fennel). If i could get Hubby to like beets I could get myself to like fennel damn it, so I took it and didn't look back.
So I made my lovely broth with the onions and the garlic, fennel and diced tomatoes (really could have used a splash of wine) and it was fabulous. I loved the flavor the fennel added to the broth and the musells, it made for great sop. I even used the pretty little fronds for garnish. I went fennel crazy my first time out of the gate and I'll be honest I liked it.
Along with some oven fries and AMAZING corn on the cob our meal paired perfectly with our sun-drunkenness.