Archive for April 2005

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Tomato soup for breakfast.

I had dinner at Winterland with Casey:
Strawberry-basil mojitos ($9! and I spilled my first one after drinking only 1/4 of it–they gave me a new one for free)
Togarishi popcorn (=furikake with chili flakes)
Fried little green peppers–some spicy, most sweet–and fried battered baby artichokes (some very fibrous leaves indeed) with saffron aioli
An amazing dish of macaroni and cheese topped with very rich breadcrumbs–brioche? croissant?–with a pear salad on the side.

We saw a Brussels Griffon in a handbag and I fed it some lamb’s ear.

and then we took the 1 downtown and ordered tea (green tea w/jasmine–good; chrysanthemum tea w/mint–bad) and “Jade and Ebony” and steamed rice at Shanghai 1930 while we watched her old jazz teacher Suzanne. Jade and Ebony was bok choi and shiitake mushrooms. The bok choi (about 4 total, cut in half lengthwise) was fine, kind of boring. The mushrooms (about 5 total) were good–I think they were cooked with sugar, soy, rice wine.

Lentils and tomato soup for breakfast.

Dad and Patty made me a nice lunch. A Moosewood Collective phyllo dough roll stuffed with sauteed peppers, onions, squash, toasted breadcrumbs, and parmesan, and topped with poppyseeds; an orange and cabbage slaw salad; tofu cubes with sesame; bread and butter; pound cake with an orange glaze. I tasted a very expensive (due to the Ghiradelli and Scharffen Berger chocolate) prune puree cake that tasted like Semifreddi’s gingerbread.

Mike stayed for dinner after dropping off our pitchfork. How Amish.
Salad with orange pieces from Mike, lettuce from the Box, and a dressing of toasted hazelnut oil, toasted sesame oil, Dijon mustard, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, and lemon juice from Mom’s lemons.

Herb roasted potatoes: blue, red, and yellow new potatoes from TJ’s and banana fingerling potatoes from the Box; all peeled and sliced in fry shapes, tossed with olive oil and garlic, and sage, thyme, rosemary, and oregano from the garden; roasted at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, stirred, cooked another 15 minutes (which was too long–they came out burned) and tossed with salt and pepper.

Quinoa cooked with minced garlic.

Caramelized Minit-Meat Beaf: cooked slices of Beaf, sliced Box carrots, onion, ginger, and garlic in a mixture of butter and olive oil, then poured in a can of ginger ale mixed with soy sauce and sesame oil. Cooked this whole thing dry, until the ginger ale sugar and soy caramelized on the Beaf and veggies.

Dark Scharffen Berger chocolate-covered candied grapefruit peels.

Whipped cream (very thick and luscious cream from Straus Family Creamery) with vanilla and sugar, on some sliced, sugared Box strawberries.

I didn’t even get a chance to serve tomato soup and lentils!


Written by orata

April 25, 2005 at 1:01 pm

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I did a lot of cooking last night; I left work a half hour early and had plenty of time to make food before watching ANTM. This morning my new organic box came, with lettuce, strawberries, zucchini, yellow fingerling potatoes, carrots, English shelling peas, and Fuji apples.

Tomato soup: This is from a gift, a little plastic-packaged mix of white navy beans and seasonings. I soaked the beans overnight and when Rahul got home he put them to boil with 8 cups of water for 1 1/2 hrs, then turned it off when he went to meditation. When I got home (just about at 6:30) I just had to drain the beans, put them back in the pot, add 8 cups cold water, the seasoning mix, and 1/2 can of tomato sauce, stir well, and simmer for maybe 15 minutes.

Salad: Picked oakleaf lettuce and arugula from the garden. Made dressing from fresh lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, blood orange olive oil, crushed garlic clove, salt, pepper, and Grey Poupon mustard. Ate with some chunks of a good-quality Roquefort from Cheese Board and croutons.

Carrots: Peeled and coin-sliced the (now soft) carrots from the last box and sauteed them in butter over medium heat with a few sliced cloves of garlic until they started to get brown. Added a generous glug of ginger ale and a few leaves of Vietnamese coriander and let it all cook down with an occasional stir until brown and slightly crisp and caramelized.

Drink: Mixed the rest of the ginger ale with some vanilla vodka and chilled it in the freezer till dinnertime.

Lentils: Sliced two medium yellow onions in half-moons 1/4″ thick and nearly deep-fried them over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes, until dark brown, with much more oil and time than I normally would have used, per the instructions in the big Deborah Madison book I got out from the library. In the meantime, I put 1 1/4 cups of black lentils on high with 4 cups (1 quart) cold water and a teaspoon of salt, then lowered the temperature and simmered about 15 minutes. I added 3/4 cup of basmati rice and lots of ground black pepper, stirred, covered, and let it simmer for another 15 minutes. I did have to add a little more water. At the end, I stirred in the onions and oil. It was very tasty, and much more minimalist than a dish I would have invented. I had to restrain myself from adding carrots, celery, bay leaf, thyme, etc.

Carrot cake: Had a slice of the birthday carrot cake while watching Strange Days on PBS. So good, with the cream cheese frosting and raisins.

I have leftover lentils, carrots, and salad, raw peas, and a Fuji apple for lunch today. This morning I had a soy cafe au lait and a little bit of cranberry-orange bread from Peet’s.

Written by orata

April 21, 2005 at 1:03 pm

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On Sunday, Rahul took me to the Oakland Zoo–the gibbons were quiet, so the highlights were the close-up adorable meerkats and the giant fruit bats (flying foxes) hanging like Gothic umbrellas or H.R. Giger chrysalises from their mesh, opening their four-foot wings every now and then. At 4:30 we went to Le Theatre and had a lovely meal:

Prosciutto amuse-bouches (which we didn’t eat)

Bread and butter (they brought us several baskets of bread, sensing our poverty and gauche manners before we even asked)

“Salade composee” with a creamy, buttery, pungent Roquefort, red-freckled lettuce, a savory garlic-mustard vinaigrette, beet cubes, and honey walnuts

Roasted asparagus salad (Rahul had this–I don’t remember the details)

Pommes frites with aioli

Polenta napoleons with roasted eggplant, onions, peppers, and tomatoes stacked on top of the crispy polenta rectangles

Honey mousse (not very light/mousse-like, but very tasty nonetheless; more like a thick cream with ground almonds in it)

Written by orata

April 20, 2005 at 12:33 pm

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On my actual birthday, Monday 4/18, I went home, ate some vegetable ramen (non-fried) with swiss chard, bleached a shirt with a bleach pen, and painted watercolors of nasturtiums.

Written by orata

April 20, 2005 at 12:31 pm

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I had a great dinner at Chez Nous last night with Jennifer, Shara, Bryan, and Marianne. Hiromi and Cindy were stuck at work till 10:30ish and couldn’t come. Shara gave me some wonderful blood orange olive oil and yuzu rice vinegar from O Olive Oil and recommended some sea salt caramel chocolates from the Pasta Shop on Fourth Street. She also brought me my Mercenaries PS2 and Xbox copies and beanie and t-shirt. Marianne gave me a lovely necklace in the most adorable bag ever–a hamster blowing out candles on a birthday cake. Everyone treated me to dinner–thanks guys!–and we had:

Strawberry sangria

Very hard and disappointing bread with salt but no butter or oil on the table (Shara hinted about me opening the olive oil sooner but I didn’t catch the hint, and didn’t open it until it was too late)

Asparagus soup with truffle oil–powerful-tasting and pungent; I didn’t realize the taste was truffle oil till I got near the bottom of the bowl

Pommes frites with harissa (nice crisp fries, not very spicy harissa)

Spinach with lemon and garlic

Gnocchi with fava beans and garlic cream sauce (tender and wonderful)

Chicken kebabs with orzo (didn’t try this)

Salmon cakes? (didn’t try this)

Kobe beef with truffle butter and hen of the woods mushrooms (didn’t try this)

Chocolate pot de creme covered in whipped cream, with a thin crunchy cookie. SO AMAZING

Chocolate caramel pyramid (dense chocolate cake in a beautiful marbled pool of caramel and chocolate sauce)

Cannele de Bordeaux? “Like a portable creme brulee” I think is how Jennifer described it–it’s a pastry with a crunchy, dark, caramelized outside and spongy inside, all drenched in a sweet pale sauce like condensed milk. They forgot to put a candle in my pot de creme so they brought this out later, on the house.

Bergamot Earl Grey served in a funny little corked, dark-glazed ceramic pot like a moonshine jug

I feel like I’m forgetting something still… anyway, the good company overshadowed the food. It was a very nice evening, and so good to see everyone again. I found out Peter’s second son was born the day before (he shares my birthday)!

Written by orata

April 20, 2005 at 12:16 pm

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I made stuffed zucchini the other night, partly with zucchini from Trader Joe’s and partly with zucchini from The Box. I was debating a zucchini carbonara or zucchini lasagna instead, but the stuffed zucchini won out.

I trimmed the zucchini, sliced it in half lengthwise, turned it face down on an oiled baking sheet and baked at 400 degrees until browned on the bottom (maybe 15-20 minutes?) In the meantime, I fried up a mixture of chopped yellow onion, chopped garlic, leftover cooked barley cakes (bound with egg, seasoned with thyme, cutting celery, and sage, and fried till brown), chopped sprouted whole-grain bread from TJ’s, golden sage, cutting celery, salt, and pepper. Once the zucchini was done and had cooled off a bit, I scooped out the centers with a teaspoon, mixed the pulp into the stuffing mixture, filled each zucchini with a heaping serving of stuffing, put a slice of lactose-free yogurt cheese on top, and baked in the 400-degree oven for another 20 minutes or so, until browned on top. It was very good.

The rest of my food weekend:
Saturday morning, I accompanied Rahul to West Berkeley and had a cup of delicious, hot, sweet soy masala chai at Peet’s while he met with Nathaji about the Sacred Space website. We walked a one-eyed white dog–a pitbull, maybe, but she was small and narrow-headed–named Snowball (her ear had been torn, and she was very excited about going out, trying to escape behind my leg and jump on me while I tried to put the collar on her). She was a nice dog. Squirrel, the dark brown resident cat at the shelter, was looking fat, sleek, and happy. I petted him for a bit while he lay on the warm CRT monitor at the front desk and purred. I went over to the tag area to put away my tag and say hello to a rat with lice, and Squirrel came over to me and very self-assuredly jumped up onto the counter, and then straight onto my shoulders, where he settled like a fur stole, purring like a maniac and looking very comfortable. He pushed his head against my face with affection and draped himself around my neck. He didn’t use his claws at all–he was very soft all over. Of course, I had allergies for hours afterwards, but it was totally worth it.

I also tried the Best Chocolate Ever at the fancy food store on 4th Street. It was Michel Cluizel’s Plantation Grand Cru “Concepcion” and my God, did it taste good.

Rahul and I went to Vik’s after the animal shelter, where I had another chai and my Lactaid pill, fried mashed potato cakes with peas in them, covered in a chickpea tamarind sauce (aloo tikki cholle) and Rahul had samosa cholle (samosas covered in the same kind of sauce). We saw Daryll and Melanie there.

I played Diner Dash a lot on Saturday night. It’s a step up, gameplay-wise, from Restaurant Empire, at least in terms of the actual flow of a restaurant floor.

On Sunday we finished coloring some posters for the Zachary’s contest. Rahul and I drew a toothy green frog-like monster hanging upside-down from a branch, with flying pizzas surrounding it. I don’t know what the deal is but it made me laugh whenever I looked at it. Kenny drew a fat man in a blue jogging suit being attacked in the middle of the forest by a remote-controlled robotic unicorn controlled by a small, evil guinea pig. It said “ZACHARY’S [ELEVATION]” on the bottom. We bought some Zachary’s spinach and mushroom with lowfat mozzarella and whole wheat crust, and ate it in the children’s vegetable garden at Thousand Oaks School. The sun was shining and a small child was laughing hysterically at a green balloon mounted with a noisemaker nozzle: his father would blow up the balloon, let it go, and let it whiz around the schoolyard making a loud whistling noise.

On Sunday night I went down to Mom’s for dinner, and met her former student Sarah. We had blue potato Terra chips, green English peas with chopped tofu (smoked?) and water chestnuts, red and black steamed rice, a tomato omelet (sweetened, with green onions, and the eggs wet and creamy–it makes my mouth water just thinking about it), Chinese broccoli, and quail eggs. I also had a brownie that Sarah made.

I forgot to update about last Thursday, when Rahul and I had dinner at Roy’s for Aleks and Shane’s farewell party. I had an apple martini, a French cosmopolitan (orange vodka and Cointreau were the distinguishing factors), black truffle and asparagus risotto, fresh spring rolls stuffed with avocado, with chili pepper dipping sauce, a fresh cabbage salad with ginger-sesame oil dressing, and grilled tofu with sprouts and ponzu, served on rice. Dessert included a strawberry stuffed with whipped cream, a real tiny cream puff, and a fudgey dark truffle square. It was a nice evening, but I woke up at about 4 AM with a terrible sick, painful feeling. i thought I might have food poisoning but it was not so.

Written by orata

April 11, 2005 at 1:26 pm

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