Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

We celebrated with a party for our newly-minted three year olds. Can't tell them apart in the picture? Neither can I.

Broiled Flank Steak

The meat came from a local producer who brought it to the farmer's market. I made it the way my mother always did: doused it with soy sauce, let it stand for a few hours, then broiled it for a few minutes on each side. Holy heck was it delicious. We had it with brown rice and shredded kohlrabi (dressed with pomegranate molasses, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and olive oil).

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Grilled Steak

with sweet potatoes and roasted brussels sprouts. For dessert Greek Christmas cookies made by my neighbor; I could eat them and never stop.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Bug-Eyed Christmas!

The purple mitts are part of my holiday mitt-making binge.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Cheeseballs and Cheer

We had a little holiday party last night; very much fun with food and drink. True, the roaming, unsupervised pack of children left a fine coating of Goldfish crumbs over everything, but what's a little cleanup during the holidays. If you have people over I recommend the following appetizer, straight from the suburban sixties: olive cheeseballs. Grate one block of sharp cheddar, add one cup of flour, and pour in enough melted butter to make a crumbly dough (about a stick will do it, but proportions aren't that crucial). Squish said dough into complete casings for small green olives, one at a time, and bake at 350 for about half an hour. Your kitchen will smell wonderful, your guests' mouths will water, and all will be eaten.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I made this hat as a little recess from a bigger project I'm working on. Knitters will appreciate the cleverness of its technique: knit sideways, flat, shaped by short rows. Non-knitters will perhaps appreciate the cheerful color, and I will appreciate its cozy head-snugging fit.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Scrambled Eggs

with roasted cauliflower and mushrooms, and corn on the cob. The thing about good eggs is that all you have to do is cook them with salt and butter, and they have the most complex flavor.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


This little shawlette is called Citron; people are knitting it by the thousands. And no wonder! It's super-simple and totally pretty. This one is about to become a wedding present for a friend, but for now, it's an elephant swaddle.

Grilled Fish

I don't remember what kind! Halibut? Mahi? I think Mahi. We had it with brown rice and roasted-beet-and-green-apple salad.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Grilled Salmon

with sauteed savoy cabbage and baked sweet potatoes.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Kale Soup

kind of: with potatoes and Italian sausage and enough broth to make sort of a stew. Very delicious.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Grilled Steak

Two steaks from a local producer, now selling at the farmer's market, absolutely perfectly grilled by my spouse. We had them with baked sweet potatoes, and roasted cauliflower, carrots and red peppers. It was a grand meal, totally out of scale to how we usually eat on a weekend night.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tagine Leftovers

Wow; it turns out the way to correct a less than perfect tagine meal is simply to throw it in the fridge and re-heat a couple of days later. Yum!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Leftover Duck

with cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and sauteed mei quing. As usual, the sweet potatoes were the stars.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Butternut Squash Tagine

I would like to understand my tagine, so I need to use it more. Last night I made in it onion, peppers, squash, carrots, olives, dried cherries, preserved lemons, and pine nuts. A lot was wrong (soupy where it should have been syrupy, unassertive spicing) but, served over brown rice with roasted cauliflower, a lot was right, too.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Grilled Steak

ribeye, with corn, broccoli, and fried potatoes.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Nitrous Oxide

Not a whole lot of dinner happening around here lately. There would have been one yesterday had I not gone in for a root canal. Nasty procedure, I assume, though I was too high on nitrous at the time to be able to say for sure. I had many drug-induced insights, but here's the one that stays with me: the four-chord sequence that underlies "Billie Jean" is the same one that structures "Moondance!" How did I never hear that before?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


hash: sauteed onions, cabbage, and bacon, with brown rice.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Lovely Leftovers

Duck, brown rice, cranberry sauce, and salad. But most importantly, my spouse picked all the remaining green tomatoes on our black-cherry tomato vines, dredged them in flour, and sauteed: *delicious.*

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Whole Wheat Fettucini

with collards, garlic, and bacon. Roasted carrots and turnips on the side.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Duck Soup

If there's one thing I like better than a roast bird (and there isn't) it's a roast bird carcass, just waiting to be made into stock. In this case I used the three duck carcasses we had to make a stock of deep richness; I ended up with two quarts of shaking golden jelly. I used about half of it to make soup last night. In the tradition of all my soups it involved everything I could lay hands on in the fridge: onions, fennel, red peppers, black beans, duck meat, turnips, and shucked corn. It was great last night and even better today.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Butternut squash pie and a forest of beer can ducks (to be cooked on the grill). Eventually we'll have brussels sprout and pomegranate salad, cornbread dressing, and pear-sweet potato gratin as well.


I can't stop making lacy scarves! They are so satisfyingly quick and pretty.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

22 Leaves Shawlette

This was fun and easy and pretty; what could be better. Note the difference between knitted lace pre-blocking (that is, before being washed and pinned out to dry) and post. It's part of the fun of knitting lace.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Roasted Red Peppers

our CSA ones again. Truly, I wish this blog had a sens-o-matic feature so I could demonstrate for you the deep fruitiness of these peppers when roasted. We had them with roasted cauliflower and shiitakes, and brown rice.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Scrambled Eggs

with roasted red peppers (from our CSA; they tasted like jam, just unbelievably concentrated and fruity), fried potatoes, and salad.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hello Again

after my long absence. I celebrated a return to making dinner with steak, brown rice, and chard with garlic. All was delish, especially the Meyer lemon chutney I had with the steak. It happens that I have lately been traveling in cold climes, which meant much new sweater-wearing, so I'm happy.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Red Pepper and Onion Frittata

with sauteed mei qing, and brown rice. Was just ok.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Baked Sweet Potatoes

roasted brussels sprouts, and fried green tomatoes.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pasta and Salad

for two nights running; one night I threw in some sauteed mustard greens just to shake things up a little. For Halloween, pizza and candy.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hash of Leftovers

Fresh red peppers and onion sauteed with leftover black rice and pork chop. Heaven. With salad.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Grilled Salmon

with collards, kale, and fresh bread (Poilane style whole wheat, from Local Bread).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Blue Hat

The pattern is called "Crown of Leaves." I spent all last winter thinking, "I am a knitter. Why do I have no hats?" This season I'm going to be prepared.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pork Chops

with brown rice and broccoli. So good.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Collard Greens

with garlic and olive oil; with baked sweet potatoes and scrambled eggs.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cornbread Waffles

with fried eggs and greens. I ate til I burst.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Surf and Turf

Grilled steak and shrimp, courtesy of the spouse. with green beans and baked sweet potatoes.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"Acorns" Sweater

I can't make too many yellow sweaters, it seems. This one was challenging for technical knittelry reasons, but I like that kind of challenge and enjoyed making it. I would enjoy *wearing* it, in case whoever controls the weather is listening.

Friday, October 15, 2010

(Almost the) Last Farmer's Market Meal

Tiny yellow crookneck squashes, sliced tomatoes, pan-roasted okra, and scrambled eggs.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Baked Sweet Potatoes

with roasted cauliflower and shiitakes, and bitter greens cooked with bacon and garlic. This dinner was a winner.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Leftover Frittata

with green beans, salad, and toast.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hat and Scarf

on vampire! Note the naturally occurring fangs. The lady in question picked the yarn, and I improvised the patterns.

Pancake Au Levain

So...what happened here? The levain was nice and peppy, so I think it must be the high percentage of non-glutinous flour I used; lots of buckwheat, rye, and whole wheat. It certainly smells good, though, so all may yet be well. If you're wondering why I didn't slash it it's because I am tired of disappointing slashes.

Lamb Chops

with quinoa and sauteed greens and garlic.

Friday, October 8, 2010


with okra, brown rice, and salad.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


And lots of them: sweet potaoes, green beans, turnips, and salad, all from our CSA.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash

roasted eggplant, sauteed turnips, and salad.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fried Chicken

with brown rice, and roasted cauliflower and shiitakes.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sugar Cookies!

My daughter and I made these while the bread cooled. One of her jobs was to scoop the cookie dough and plop it into my waiting fingers, to be rolled in pink sugar. She would ready the scoop, hold it out, and say "one scoop, ready to lay!"

Pane di Altamura

This bread was well underway before I read around on the internet and discovered that I, like many others who tried it, had done almost everything wrong. Most importantly I used readily available semolina flour, when apparently what one wants is a much finer grind available only in Italy, or at least not readily here. Nothing daunted, I went ahead and baked. I haven't tasted it yet, but feel in any case that it is no small thing to have produced a loaf that looks as nice and smells as heavenly as this one does.

Scrambled Eggs

with fried okra and shiitakes, and green beans.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


The Enthusiast has just passed its 2000th unique visitor mark (since I installed the counter a few months ago). Thank you to all who visit!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Second Verse

much the same as the first: chicken stew over brown basmati rice, with masses of okra (home-grown and CSA).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chicken Stew

With onions, ginger, butternut squash, collard greens, peanut butter, and a haphazard melange of cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon. Over brown rice.


with brown rice and red peppers, with beautiful pale green and purple-speckled pole beans.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Spiral Pasta

with butternut squash and mustard greens.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Whole Wheat Sourdough Miche

Delicious, delicious bread. But I confess to tearing up when I took it out of the oven because I can't, no matter what I try, get it to burst and split in the oven like I see other people's loaves doing. Eating a few pieces of it cheered me up a bit.

For dinner last night we had lamb chops, okra, and curried (disgusting, watery, flavorless) acorn squash.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Grilled Salmon

with quinoa and wilted arugula.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Oh how I love a scarf! This is a very popular pattern right now, and it's easy to see why: it requires only moderate effort for pretty results. Now if only it weren't in the nineties every day...

Scrappy Sourdough

I planned to make my usual whole wheat version, but realized I was low on whole wheat. Instead I ended up with 200g whole wheat, 100g rye, and 200g bread flour. Delicious, and not so different from what I planned, as it turns out. I was without oven power for about a week, and I really missed the bread. Thank goodness everything's working again.

Lamb Chops

with okra and homemade bread (see above).

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Best Darn Sweet Potatoes

I've ever had. They came from the farmer's market, and I don't know what made them so different from the usual, but I had two and wished for more. We had them with okra and salad.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Curried Squash

with fried potatoes, scrambled eggs, and salad.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Grilled Salmon

with quinoa and sauteed mei qing cabbage.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Leyfi Sweater

This sweater was a fast knit, because it has a large gauge. (Gauge=stitches per inch. Confusingly, the fewer stitches per inch, the larger the gauge, but you can see how it's faster; if it only takes four stitches to make one inch of sweater, as here, that's a lot fewer stitches over all than say, six stitches per inch. The "large" refers to the size of the stitches themselves.) Anyhoo, I'm happy with it, though I shortened it by a couple of inches after I took this picture. The color, by the way, is a combination of the two yarns (one a thick, clear poppy, the other a thin variegated purple and green) that I held together as I knit.

Seared Tuna

with okra and brown rice.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Coconut Curry

with butternut squash and field peas, over brown rice. With the first CSA salad since the spring!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Curried Acorn Squash

with okra and fried potatoes. Dinner is so strange; sometimes I labor and plan and it all looks like it's going to be great and then it's just ok. And then, rarely, as last night, I throw it together with moderate hope and it turns out to be *sublime*.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Chicken Hash

sort of: leftover roast chicken, brown rice, and wilted arugula.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Baked Sweet Potatoes

with okra and scrambled eggs.

The Pirates of the Caribbean I, II, & III

Yo ho, yo ho, Johnny Depp as a pirate for me. I still remember the joyful shock of the first movie. I heard that they were making a movie about a ride at Disneyland and laughed for two days. Then it turned brutally hot so I went to see it in the theater, where it turned out the air conditioning was broken—and I didn't even notice, because the movie was so much fun. To say that these movies are better than they have any right to be is not saying much, since they have exactly no right to be any good at all. But there's Johnny, giving the performance of a lifetime, surrounded by an excellent supporting cast (hi Mackenzie Crook!), working from a witty script, wearing eyeliner that should have been nominated for an Oscar all by itself. I hear they are making part IV; I may not see it in the theater, but I'll gleefully add it to my DVD hoard.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lemon Thyme Chicken

with brown rice and brussels sprouts. My apologies to my vegetarian friends; perhaps meat-lovers will agree with me that this is an appetizing bird. (The lemons are Moroccan preserved; salt-lover's heaven).

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Chocolate Sour Cherry Bread

For the record: we had a brussels sprout and potato frittata for dinner. The real story, however, is clearly the pictured bread, which is from a recipe in Nancy Silverton's Breads from the La Brea Bakery. It's really just a normal sourdough, with the addition of cocoa, chocolate, dried cherries, and a little butter. It's delicious, and will, I predict, be better in a few days when the chocolate has bloomed. I like Silverton's book a lot, but wish she'd given measurements in grams rather than ounces. Bakers go metric for the same reason drug dealers do: when accuracy matters, it's the only way to fly.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sesame Seed Kamut Levain

This loaf has 50% kamut flour, 45% bread flour, 5% whole wheat, and is filled with sesame seeds inside and out. It is extremely good today, and I think will be better tomorrow and the day after. I dearly love sesame seeds. I also love kamut flour, and don't understand why the recipes I read call for (in my opinion) cautious amounts of it. Berenbaum recommends 6% (!!!). I'm sure she has her reasons, and they probably have to do with maintaining authenticity in her recipe for pain au levain, but luckily for me I don't care about authenticity. I care about using lots of kamut. This is a good way to do it.

Missoniesque T

I have been working on this 4-Eva. It's the project I picked up in between other projects, so it never got long stretches of attention. Moreover, it's knit with fine wool on small needles, so there are a *lot* of stitches in it, and I didn't have a pattern so I had to take breaks to figure out what I wanted to do and how to do it. I'm reasonably happy with the result, and encouraged to wing it more often.

Impromptu Stew

of squash, peppers, field peas, onions, garlic, peanut butter, coconut, and curry. Delicious over brown basmati rice.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


pan-seared; I mean, that's what it was supposed to be. I envisioned clear ruby fish-flesh but we ended up eating barely pink tuna instead. Actually, it was pretty good anyway. We had it with brown rice and okra (in case you haven't noticed, we are overrun with okra these days, as we are every August.)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

T-Bone Steak

grilled, with wilted arugula and brown rice.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


of quinoa, onions, and field peas; with roasted cauliflower and shiitakes.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Grilled Steel Head Trout

farmed! I am ashamed. With okra and quinoa.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Whole Wheat Sourdough Miche

This is a really reliable loaf. I love the way the crust darkens, and then darkens again when I toast it.

Friday, August 20, 2010


of leftover vegetables from last night, with added field peas. With pan-roasted okra, ours and our CSA's.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Grilled Halibut

with roasted potatoes, sprouts, and red peppers. Sounds good, right? Ick. The fish was bitter, the vegetables underdone.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sweet Potato Omelette

with wilted arugula and sourdough toast.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Grilled Amberjack

with quinoa and curried squash.

Weekend Round-Up

A lot of cooking has happened here lately. When I thought back I realized that in one twenty-four hour period I produced, in addition to regular lunches and dinners, two loaves of sourdough (pictured), a double batch of waffles, several dozen chocolate chip cookies, and a big bowl of potato salad. I don't know what came over me, but it all seemed pretty natural at the time. The bread is mighty good; both loaves used the same starter, but the loaf on the right has about twenty percent kamut flour, while the one on the left has rye and whole wheat. Let's call them identical (conjoined!) twins raised in different environments. The pictured okra family represents our first harvest.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Grilled Steak

with Indian spiced okra and sweet potatoes. My reaction to eating sweet potatoes is almost always "man; I should eat more sweet potatoes."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Okra Flowers

Until I moved to the south I knew nothing of okra (except that I found it slimy), and until this summer (when my husband planted some) I couldn't imagine what kind of plant it grew on (okra trees?), and until yesterday I had no idea it produces flowers of incredible delicacy and beauty. Needless to say, along the way I learned that it can be *delicious*.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Grilled Salmon

with sauteed arugula (peppery enough before cooking to bring tears to my eyes) and black rice.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Scrambled Eggs

with Indian spiced okra and the pictured French Country Boule. I think it's fair to say that this is the best bread I know how to make, and one of the best I've eaten. It's pretty simple (white, rye, and whole wheat flours), and, in my experience, hard to mess up. If I had to quibble with this loaf I'd say I over-salted just a wee bit, and I still haven't mastered oven spring, but on the whole, if this is as good as my bread gets, I can happily live with it. I learned two things this round. The first is that I dislike a starter made with all whole grain; both the spelt starter I made a while ago and the whole wheat starter I baked with last week made a bread that was too tangy for my taste. Even in a whole grain loaf I prefer a starter fed mainly white flour. The second is that preheating the oven and using a baking stone are both unnecessary steps. Following the advice of a number of posters on The Fresh Loaf (link to the right) I baked this in a cold oven, on a baking sheet, and it is both delicious and indistinguishable from loaves I baked on the traditionally recommended searing-hot baking stone. Since I always found pre-heating to be just that one extra step that turned the whole thing into a chore, this is big news for me.

Buffalo Filet

with corn on the cob and okra. I made the okra following a recipe in the recent Food & Wine; I sliced it in half lengthwise, fried it in very hot oil, then seasoned with cumin, fennel seed, turmeric, and coriander. It was delicious; I'm doing it again tonight.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Behold, the fruit of my swatching. I'm very pleased with this hat, not least because it used up yarn I've had hanging around for years.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Blueberry Cornbread

with roasted summer vegetables.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


with cheese and tomatoes. With sauteed okra.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Pas de Valse

For some reason I seem to have spent most of this summer knitting in wool; no doubt I'll be glad when November comes around. This is "Pas de Valse," a pattern from Twist Collective, the hottest online knitting magazine in town. A good bit of it was accomplished during jury duty.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mosaic Knitting

This is a knitting technique invented by Barbara Walker, who invented a lot of what we know as modern knitting. Why have I always resisted trying it? For no good reason, that's for sure, because it is easy and beautiful. Glad I finally got on board.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Roasted Summer Vegetables

I opened the bag from our CSA and simply chopped up and roasted everything in it: eggplant, okra, onions, red peppers, and orange cherry tomatoes. We had it with big hunks of blueberry cornbread.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Grilled Salmon

with quinoa and green beans.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Second Verse

more or less same as the first: the remainder of the field peas from last night, with fresh tomatoes and black rice added. With sauteed okra.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Field peas

with bacon, onions, and cherry tomatoes. Also okra and blueberry cornbread.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tomato Pie

with okra, and fresh figs for dessert. All from the farmer's market.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Grilled Salmon

with roasted new potatoes and sauteed peppers and broccoli.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Whole Wheat Spaghetti

with fresh tomato sauce (pink, red, and yellow tomatoes, garlic, and basil [if I'd actually remembered to add it, which I didn't]) and sliced up red and yellow peppers.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


with cheddar cheese and leeks; with roasted new potatoes and shiitakes.

Monday, July 19, 2010


of black rice, leftover corn, and leftover ribs, diced up. With a tomato, cucumber, red onion salad.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Now We're Getting Somewhere

Round two of the Kamut Levain. I did everything exactly the same, except for one thing: during the bulk fermentation stage (when one lets the dough rise for about four hours) I did two "letter fold turns." This involves dumping the dough out, stretching it into a rectangle, folding it in thirds, and returning it to the rising container. My internet research assured me that this would lead to better oven spring, and the internet was right. The oven spring was nice, and the crust color better, and I swear the bread tastes better too. So: letter fold turns. Not a dispensable step.