Thursday, July 25, 2013

I Should Just Start Numbering My Food Posts

This post should be called Summer Foods #2. This is a appealing to the same part of me that wouldn't mind wearing a uniform every day, but appalling to the part of me that can't eat a sweet potato and a tin of tuna for lunch day in and day out (yes, I knew someone with this diet). Coming up with the title for posts is the most tedious part of a blog.  I'm not sure what this says about me, and if I was sure, I probably wouldn't like it.

Steamed eggplant experiment

Eggplants are a tricky for me to cook without lots of oil. It's one of those vegetables that can be blissfully silky or disgusting and spongy depending on the preparation. My favorite Chinese braised eggplants involve deep frying eggplants in peanut oil, and then stir frying them with flavoring oils like chili and sesame. However, I like to use the slender Chinese and Japanese eggplants for that dish and the CSA keeps on sending me the globe eggplants. A Fuchsia Dunlop recipe for steamed eggplant had the potential to be a delicious and healthier way to cook the eggplant, so that was dinner last week. The dipping sauce, a combination of homemade chili oil, black vinegar, sugar, and light soy sauce, made me not miss the deep fried eggplant. However, it is questionable if this is actually healthier because I ended up mixing all of the dipping sauce with the steamed eggplant, which made a great room temperature salad.

Matcha mochi cupcakes are a win
This recipe for match mochi cupcakes was chewy and a good treat to bake up for someone who rarely bakes. I subbed out cashew milk for regular milk since I rarely have straight up milk around here.  Neither of us humans drink milk, although we are not technically dairy free because I usually have a tub of Strauss whole milk yogurt and the occasional pint of ice cream. If I make these again, I'd like them to be crispier on the outside with the aid of my convection oven. My oven, which I have had for almost 10 years now, has a convection setting, but I'm just now getting used to it. Crispy roasted potatoes in 15 minutes flat made me a convert.

Volunteer downspout mushrooms
I thought these mushrooms were porcinis, not that I'd dare eat them even after confirming that they have an olive brown spore print. They live in the backyard, a place where Mingus has free reign to do his bathroom business. Although I've never seen him pee on the downspout, I'm convinced everything back there is not fit for eating. Sure, now that I'm on the Bay Area Homesteader Hookup list, I've read about people much more extreme who use humanure from their compost toilets to grow food, but I admire that in a theoretical way and don't aspire to do that, not to mention that my backyard is small and the neighbors behind me can see into it.

My only productive zucchini plant

I still don't have zucchini coming out of my ears. One out of the three plants is producing one or two zucchinis a week although the plants take up quite a bit of valuable garden real estate. The other two plants are producing runty little 3-inch zucchinis that have blossom rot. Still, this is better than last year, and I know what now to do again next year. For example, no zucchini plant should grow in a pot. Although the raven zucchini seed package said it could be done, it is too hard to get the amount of water just right using our irrigation system.

Playing with my julienne tool yields zucchini noodles

I want zucchini coming out of my ears because I love cooking the nutty zucchini in my cast iron skillet with a bit of garlic and olive oil. Low and slow is how I prefer to cook this dish, although in time pinches I have only given it a quick shake in a hot pan. Both versions are good, and both versions take a boatload of zucchini for an adequate portion size (half our plate because we love it so).

Since I'm not crafting anything besides tiny hats and dishcloths, I've been catching up on Arrested Development (Season 4 was the best! Long live George Michael!) and reading. Since May, I've read Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan, Homeward Bound by Emily Matchar (interesting if you've ever pondered the questions of how the DIY revival and feminism can co-exist and if one cancels out the other), The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz (read this now!), and I'm almost done with Wild by Cheryl Strayed (a book I was reluctant to read due to its Oprah endorsement and my disdain for books about women overcoming obstacles, but so far I'm loving it). Most of these books came from my library's ebook lending program, which is the cat's meow. I'm almost done with Wild, so any recommendations on what I should read next? I have Lean In, Inferno (please don't give me crap for this one), Tiger Babies Strike Back, and Fairyland on my hold list.


  1. "Coming up with the title for posts is the most tedious part of a blog." Here's a tip for ya, if you are blogging about a recipe, the blog title should be the name of the recipe. I think I see your problem though. You are combining multiple topics in one post. I count at least 5 different topics that could have been treated separately, yet you have rolled them all into one. Slow down!

    1. Yes, that's a big part of the problem. When I have a chance to sit down and record my thoughts, I usually have a backlog of things to document, resulting in a ton of topics under one heading.

  2. Bay Area Homsteading Hookup? Tell me more?

    1. It's awesome! People around the Bay Area, most heavily concentrated in Berkeley/Oakland/Richmond, regularly offer up things to trade (plant starts, grains, kombucha mothers) or advice. You can subscribe to the BAHH by sending an email to



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