Sunday, September 26, 2010

Carrot Relish

Now that money's tighter, and I'm living more on my own again, that is not that I wasn't living alone before but I was sharing more meals, I'm on a kick to use everything up in the fridge before:

a) it goes bad and
b) I go shopping again.

I always have carrots around because they last forever and they make a good snack when I'm frantic running
out the door and don't want to eat another goddamn cracker, but aside from that I don't really put them in much. They go in tomato sauces sometimes or on sandwiches maybe, but I don't like them in salads unless they're grated and I'm too lazy to grate things on a serving to serving basis. I hate cleaning the grater; I always cut myself. But the more carrots get grated at once, the more meals the grating is spread out over, the greater the cost:benefit.

Carrot Relish
(serves 2-3)

2 carrots, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno (or several random chilies) or to taste, minced*
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Salt to taste

one: Mix carrot, garlic and jalapeno in a bowl.

two: Add lime juice and salt. Taste and adjust.

three: Serve.

Particularly awesome on a burrito in place of salsa when you accidentally buy salsa that isn't spicy enough. Also good on humus sandwiches and def with any sort of peanut anything, including chicken or even red meat!

*note about the chilies: I like things uber spicy. It can be a problem for other people. In my case, I chopped up the chilies whole (I used about three small spicy red and yellows I got at our neighborhood farmer's market) seeds and all, but if you're not that into it, you could consider removing the seeds. Then you get some of the spice from the pepper's flesh, but it won't be as painful.

Monday, September 20, 2010


3 limes
1 bunch cilantro
1 red onion
1 white onion
1 bag spinach
1 bottle white wine (Las Brisas - a white from the Rueda region of Spain. You see the $$)
1 bottle buttermilk

I often stand there in line at the grocery story wondering what my groceries say about me. Making snap judgements about the guy behind me with the three packages of ground beef, corn chips, chocolate milk, case of red Gatorade and bag of Gala apples.
Meatloaf, perhaps?
So I thought I would just put it out there. I think it's especially interesting now that I live in a neighborhood - um, maybe city - that doesn't really put much stock in full-on grocery stores, thus I have been doing a lot of shopping for a little of things.

In this case my friends just gave me the gift of seven homegrown California avocados. Guacamole? Cold soup? Etc. Etc.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Peach Cobbler: Look No Cans

This is my take on the easy peach cobbler recipe that's all over the internet. I know it's a little late in the season for peaches in many places, but I just visited the local farmer's market in my new neighborhood and came home with a mound of them. I wouldn't normally go here, but I have a friend who hates to bake and has adopted this recipe as her one and only. Now that we don't live in the same town, I find I miss it, so I'm making it my own. I suppose it's a great recipe whatever way you slice it, but most of the versions I've found call for self-rising flour and canned peaches, two things that never darken my pantry door.

Easy Peach Cobbler

1/2 c. unsalted butter
1 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp (loose) freshly ground nutmeg
1 c. sugar
1 c. milk
16 oz. (about four) peaches, pealed and sliced

one: Melt butter in the bottom of an 8x10 baking pan.

two: Mix dry ingredients thoroughly with a fork. Add sugar and mix. Add milk and stir until smooth.

three: Make sure butter is evenly distributed over the bottom of the pan - i.e. it's on a flat surface - and poor batter over butter without mixing. Lay fruit slices over the top, again no need to mix.

four: Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes or until the edges are a nice golden brown. Let cool for a cool 15 and enjoy.

I'll see if I can come up with a nice bourbon vanilla ice cream recipe to go with this one.

There's a Maggot in My Flour

That is, we live in the south.
That is, life must eat and goddamn but don't we have a lot of life down here.
That is, have you seen Suspiria?
That is, it's not poverty it's a Dario Argento movie.
That is, my friend stopped by the other day and brought my attention to something I never thought worth a second glance. It was so necessary and it seemed so intuitive.
Here's the story:
About two years ago I lived in this lovely little shack back in the BR with a very fabulous, if a little cook-lite, friend. Let me set the scene. When my friend rented the place for us - I was out of the country - our landlady mentioned that people 'keep telling me to put some work into these places, really renovate and up the rent, but I don't want to do that. I want to be able to provide cheap housing for students." Sweet isn't she? Very generous. Your average slum lord. Upon moving in, one of the first things I discovered was that when the oven was turned on, the scent of roasting shit permeated the entire house. Turns out.....well actually I don't think what I found under that oven need be described, but let me just say I baked nothing for the rest of that year. Not one thing.
So there I am, in our tiny, hobbled kitchen sauteing bok choi for my peanut noodles when something hits me on the head and bounces, landing on the stove about an inch to the left of my frying pan. Huh, I think and bend over to see.
To see a big, fat, white, writhing worm thing, Like a maggot. About half-an-inch long and thisthisthis close to having fallen in my food. What if I had stepped away for a moment and it had fallen in the pan? I wouldn't have even known.
And so I look up - really look - and there they are. All of these blanched streaks squirming around on the top of the walls. On the ceiling. And little brown, worm-shaped cocoons stuck to the white paint. I couldn't help it. I screamed.
And then I got mad. What the fuck, I thought. We're vegetarian for god's sake. It's not like there's a new shipment of meat stored up in our attic rotting away.
Is there?
No, of course there wasn't. It didn't take long to figure out where the wormies were coming from - much less time, in fact, than it took me to get up on a chair and wipe my ceiling down with bleach. They were, you guessed it, coming from the flour. All of our dried goods, which we had up until that point been keeping in our open-air open-face cabinets. No matter the container, no matter how air tight the seal, there were moths and well-fed larvae in all of our pasta, flour and bulk grain.

I threw out everything. And I started keeping my flour in the freezer.

So a week ago, my friend comes over - a fellow baker - and I reach into the freezer to get us some gin.
"You're a genius," she says.
"What?" I say.
"Your flour," she says. "We keep getting bugs in our flour. You've got it in the freezer."
"Oh, yeah," I say. "It helps."
"Pure genius," she says. "You should blog about that," she says.