Friday, May 25, 2012

CSA Week 5: Lettuce, Spinach, Chinese Cabbage, Vitamin Green, Red Russian Kale, Shunkyo Radishes


How pretty are those radishes? Here’s what happened in my kitchen last week:

Gruyère gougères!


Roasting coffee at home. (Thanks, J!)


These easy asparagus and gruyère tarts from Joy the Baker were delicious and not at all awkward, unlike the time I went to her book signing and she said, “My sister’s name is Lauren!” and the only thing I could think of to say back was, “I know.”



A dinner of baguette, butter, and salt; some salad to pretend I cooked; and a rhubarb pie from Hoosier Mama.


No one will ever know if you sneak some Vitamin Green into your spanakopita.



Cloudy, beautiful Chicago skyline.


Butterscotch pudding. It’s okay if you want to sprinkle a few bites with crunchy salt. Maybe I should get some new patterned napkins? This one is getting a lot of action.


Did you ever think of roasting radishes? This recipe was delicious, but next time I’d toss the greens in lemon and olive oil before topping them with the radishes.


We ate all the Napa cabbage salad before I could get a picture. It was inspired by this recipe, but instead of ramen noodles, I just buttered some almonds, cashews, and sesame seeds. (Bonus: if you forget about them in the oven, the butter will brown! (Or burn. But catch them before that.)) Use a little less sugar in the dressing. The recipe warns, “do not chop” but I did and it was still good.

(Aha, so it seems that “shred cabbage” does not mean use a cheese grater. Memorial Day weekend challenge: learn to shred with a knife.)

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Little Princess and CSA Week 3: Lettuce, Spinach, Vitamin Green, Rainbow Chard, Red Russian Kale, Hakurei Turnips

I cut up the turnips before I could take a picture! 

Instead of writing a blog post last Friday, I watched the 1995 version of A Little Princess. I know watching a children’s movie shouldn’t take all day, but you have to build in time to go onto IMDb after to discover what happened to Sara Crewe (she grew up to be a rather wealthy lady) and learn that the director of the film (Alfonso Cuarón) went on to direct (are you ready for this?) Y Tu Mamá También, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Paris, je t’aime, and Children of Men.

A Little Princess gets lumped together (often in a DVD double feature) with The Secret Garden for obvious reasons: Frances Hodgson Burnett authored the books the movies were based on, and both are about rich girls from India. However, to me, Sara Crewe will always reign supreme because even though she was so rich that she required dozens of trunks to transport her clothes and toys and could afford to give fur-lined, leather shoes (those shoes!!) to Becky the maid, she was kind and fun (unlike a certain Mary Lennox…).

The Attic (decorated)

Arguably the best scene in the movie is the morning after Becky and Sara imagine an impossible feast and wake up to find themselves in a sunflower-filled Anthropologie catalog.* The mystical Indian man (apparently named Ram Dass), who is involved in the series of coincidences that allow Sara to reunite with her father (“Papa!”…“SARA!!”), somehow snuck in during the night and performed a gut rehab on the attic without ever waking up the girls. Ignore the specifics or it’s a little creepy. Just concentrate on the steam coming from the sausages and how happy the girls are…while R.D. watches them. It’s okay though, because R.D. is the same mystical Indian man who saw Sara and her father dancing on the boat en route to New York. He also happens to work for an old man who lives next door to Sara’s school. On top of that, he found the wounded Captain Crewe in a hospital and convinced the old man to bring him home. R.D. is frustrating (you know he’s Sara’s dad! Just get them together already!), but essential to the plot that dispenses of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s original ending.


The morning after I watched A Little Princess, I made toast from my homemade bread by spreading butter on it and then sprinkling on a mixture of sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom. I put it in the oven at 375 until the butter melted. Served with a side of mango, it made for a vaguely exotic breakfast that I’m sure Sara, Becky, and Ram Dass would have enjoyed. The meals I’ve had since then have been less cinematically inspired, but just as comforting. (See what I’m doing? Trying to tie in the CSA to the rest of this post…is it working?) Last night, I chopped up the rainbow chard and sautéed it with garlic and then tossed it with spaghetti and parmesan. Tonight we are having a spinach and cheese strata.


Let your heart kindle my heart.

*Thanks to Flickr user ljohns32 for the screenshot of the orange attic!