Monthly Archives: October 2012

This just in:

Sailing on Sunday

Rafting (for my first time) on Saturday. Fun!

I had the day off from work yesterday. It was tough fitting in everything I wanted and needed to do but I managed. I accomplished all of those mundane things that are only great accomplishments to me: laundry, mopping the kitchen floor, grocery shopping, walking the dog. There is nothing more satisfying than a day when the dog gets walked and the floor gets cleaned.

Monday ended on a high note too. I made enchilada sauce completely from scratch and we had some fabulous enchiladas for dinner. The recipe came along with a bag of Anaheim chiles in my CSA box last week. I didn’t have any onions and I’m sure preferred it that way. The sauce was simply roasted chiles, fresh tomatoes (also from the CSA), garlic, and cumin. I’m ashamed to admit how much I licked off the spoon. It wasn’t even too hot for Lee. Victory!

The sauce was so good I didn’t even feel the need to add much else to the enchiladas. They were just corn tortillas, smooshed tofu, and some chopped broccoli for green + crunch. I think of this as the vegan version of cheese enchiladas: simple, creamy, saucy, good.

The sauce kind of looked like this cozy fire we had the other night.

I thought of photographing the sauce and enchiladas for one flitting moment but I decided to just enjoy the cooking process and forego the pictures. How can I teach myself to slow down and document what I’m doing?

I’m giving you the original recipe, straight from the Mariquita newsletter, along with my slight modifications. This was so much easier than I thought it would be. The chiles roasted while I cleaned the house and peeling them was s cinch. After that It was just a matter of throwing everything in a pot to simmer. I didn’t even chop the garlic or peel the tomatoes, since I knew I’d be using the blender.

Red Enchilada Sauce, from Mariquita Farm (makes 3 cups)

12 Anaheim or Poblano chiles, about 2 pounds (I only had 6 chiles to work with)

2 cups thinly sliced onion (left this out)

1 cup chopped tomato (I used maybe 8 small, quartered tomatoes, so about twice this)

1/2 cup water

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cumin

4-6 chopped garlic cloves (I just smashed mine and threw them in the pot)

Preheat oven to 450°.

Place chiles on a baking sheet; bake at 450° for 20 minutes or until blackened, turning once. Place chiles in a non-reactive bowl or pot then top with a plate or lid; let stand 10 minutes. USE GLOVES FOR THIS (I didn’t but I washed my hands really well afterwards): Peel; discard seeds and membranes. Place chiles and remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Whirl in food processor or use immersion blender to puree.

I think doubling the tomatoes and halving the amount of chiles made my sauce less spicy than it would have been otherwise. That was perfect for my spicy food-hating husband but I bet the original recipe, complete with onion and plenty of chiles, would be sweeter and have quite a kick to it.

2 Comments

Filed under CSA, other goodies

Here’s the deal

In my last post, I promised to explain how MuffinEgg is going to change. This is a really rough, stream-of-consciousness-style list that I’ve been building in my head for months now. You see, I’ve known for a while that I wanted to do things differently here. I just needed a little nudge!

First, here are some things I like (starting with the blog-related):

  • Writing
  • Cooking
  • Eating
  • Reading about other people’s cooking, eating, life, etc.
  • Looking at those people’s incredible pictures
  • Being involved in the blogging “community”

and the rest:

  • Being active (see below)
  • Being the slowest person on the masters’ swim team
  • Triathlons!
  • Sailing, especially with my husband
  • Being outdoors, preferably as far from civilization as possible
  • Getting to the top of the literal and figurative mountain and making it back in one piece
  • Thinking, reading, and talking about interesting stuff
  • Museums!

 

You may have noticed that neither of these lists includes photography – food or otherwise. That’s because I am always frustrated with my photography skills and therefore rarely satisfied with my pictures. I have this fancy camera that I barely know how to use! I think I would enjoy photography a lot more if I knew what I was doing and could actually take decent pictures (other than by accident and thanks only to my camera’s mysterious abilities).  Add that to the list of things to work on.

There are a few other things that need to change in order for blogging to work for me. First, I need to loosen up. That goes for my own perfectionism that prevents me from posting when something isn’t perfect, as well as this blog’s content. I often find myself wanting to write – needing to share – but don’t do so because I wouldn’t be posting a recipe or pretty food pictures. I feel stuck in the cook, eat, photograph, post rubric. It just doesn’t work for my current lifestyle and interests.

I guess that’s really number two: I want – need – to write about different things! I don’t think blogging about every little detail of my entire life is right for me but I don’t want to be confined to the food realm. There is so much more to life than cooking and eating, as wonderful as it is. Personally, I started reading blogs for the food but I connect to people and keep reading for the other things. I think of it like a conversation over dinner: we’re enjoying a wonderful meal that has brought us together to have an equally wonderful conversation.

Now I’ve lost my train of thought…perhaps because it’s now a different day and a different lunch break at work. I’m going to go against what I think I should do and end this post without any cohesive final thought.

4 Comments

Filed under inspiration and musings

Dear Blog,

pimiento de padron peppers – so good but gone now

I am going through a blogging identity crisis. Scratch that, call it a real-life identity crisis. I have this job that I like. It’s only part-time but I was just bumped up from 2.5 to 3 days a week. This week I also start a temporary job in the same museum that will bring me to 5 full days of work per week! This is going to sound lame, but this will be my first ever full-time employment. I haven’t done anything five days a week since college (even then, each days classes were different).

Starting a full-time job gives me mixed feelings. On one hand, I feel so, so lucky to finally be employed after almost a year of searching and several years of vagrant ocean wandering. However, I tend to feel pretty overwhelmed by life without working 9-5. I know it’s my perfectionist, controlling tendencies that make time management a high-anxiety issue for me. If I could just chill out and go with the flow for a while then things would likely get easier.

I made this delicious carrot-apple cake for my birthday and never posted it!

What does all this have to do with the blog? Well, I have mixed feelings about blogging right now too. This blog is one of many sources of stress in my life right now. I feel guilty for not posting and frustrated that MuffinEgg is falling into neglect after failing to become as “successful” as I hoped it would. Those thought start me wondering about the point of writing a blog. Do I do this for me? Am I just looking for attention (not that there’s really anything wrong with that)? What am I really gaining from the cook>photograph>write (oh yeah, and eat) process nowadays?

The answers? blogging just isn’t as fulfilling as it once was. Yes, I like attention. I wish it didn’t matter but I think I’d enjoy the validation of more readership and involvement in the blogging community. Most importantly, I’m not getting much out of writing this blog right now.

Yuck. I sound like a self-help book. I’ll get to the point: I’m at a crossroads with two choices that I can see. 1) Quit; 2) Change things. I’m choosing option #2. Yay!

Remember when I used to bake bread? I miss my soudough starter : (

So as not to overwhelm anyone who might read this and keep things simple for myself, I’ll leave it at that for now. I have a whole slough of exciting ideas for the new-and-improved MuffinEgg but I’ll save those for another post. Here’s a fun and philosophical bit of dialogue I overheard today.

Someone’s response to the question “How you been?”:  “I would say living the dream, but, I’d be lying.”

2 Comments

Filed under inspiration and musings

A plate full of good food

Seeing as my last post was September’s Recipe Swap, my blogging frequency is clearly suffering. I’ve been busy blah blah blah…I’ve still been cooking blah blah blah…I’m done making excuses. More on that later.

Apples: One of the many ingredients in Russian Salad.

 Christianna dished out a doozy of a recipe for everyone, as usual. On my first read, I didn’t catch the veal or herring part of the Russian Salad. Potatoes, apples, beets, eggs, good vinegar – everything sounded good to me! I’ve never made a raw egg dressing before but considered giving it a try. According to Wikipedia, the dressing recipe for the original Russian Salad was closely guarded by its creator, chef Lucien Olivier, back in 1860’s Moscow.

Lee, Doc (the dog), and I have been on vacation for the past week. We drove the 15 or so hours (I’m a Californian, I measure distance in hours, not miles) to Jackson Hole, Wyoming over the course of a day and a half. Then we spent one glorious week alternately relaxing, and, as Lee says, “power hiking” the trails of Teton National Park. To say it was beautiful would be an understatement. Between the fall-colored Aspens and Cottonwoods and the spectacular peaks I was barely paying enough attention to see all the wildlife. There were bears, moose, elk, deer, and bison. Until last week, I’d never seen a moose or a bear in the wild! Now I can say that my 15 pound dog has chased a bear (Don’t worry, the bear was oblivious and Doc just wanted to play!). The only downside to all this wildlife was watching people do stupid things to get a closer look. People disappoint me.

Do you see the moose?

I missed good food on our trip. We had some nice meals in Jackson and I got to cook with my mom in the condo, so that was nice. Driving through northern Nevada and Idaho, though, was rather trying for a non meat-eater. There were lots of potatoes, mostly in french-fried or mashed with butter in a 1-1 ratio. We ate breakfast at a roadside restaurant whose special was the “Giant Chicken Fried Steak Breakfast”. It was large enough to startle the (relative) locals next to us even when split between two plates.

As you might guess, I was in serious need of some vegetables by the time we got home on Saturday. Thankfully there was a bag of Red Norland Potatoes left in the fridge from our last CSA box. A thawed block of tofu and bag of Brussels sprouts later, I had exactly what I needed: a plate full of good food. That’s how I imagine the original Russian Salad: a heap of good food that works well together, especially in this transition to comforting Fall dishes full of root vegetables and apples. I may just start calling all my potato-based, weirdly delicious, concoctions Russian Salads.

 A Simple Plate of Good Food

10-12 small red potatoes, halved or quartered

1 block extra firm tofu, frozen and thawed if you like it extra crispy

Lots of Brussels sprouts

olive oil, S&P, dill

hot sauce/ketchup

Roast the potatoes and tofu with olive oil and seasonings for 20-25 minutes at 375 F, stirring half way through. With 15 minutes left, add the Brussels sprouts to the oven, halved with cut side down on a separate baking sheet. Once everything is done, toss a little of everything on your plate. Don’t forget the hot sauce and ketchup, if you’re into that kind of thing.

I apologize for this sad excuse for a recipe. I’m sure my fellow Recipe Swappers have much, much more polished interpretations of Russian Salad for you.



4 Comments

Filed under CSA, Recipe Swaps