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  1. B - L - T! It's Dyna-MITE!

    Posted 23 Jul 2008

    Welcome back, folks! After two days of reruns (or near reruns) we're back with fresh new material! We'll keep this up as long as possible until we need to do a musical episode and then we'll probably drag it on for a year or two longer than we should then call it quits, shark squarely jumped.

    We are running behind due to our (mostly Jen's) busy work schedules so we're catching up on the last 30 minutes of yesterday's Tour de France stage, watching today's stage and trying to make another meal with our farm share vegetables from this week.

    In perusing our haul from yesterday I really wanted to feature the vegetables as the primary flavors of the meal.

    Salad is easy. I used the red leaf lettuce and the disgusting, nasty cucumbers along with some tomato, goat cheese, garlic scape, olive oil, lemon and slivered pecans. I topped it with a light dusting of old bay seasoning just for fun.

    I was remembering how my mom would occasionally make BLTs for dinner and how it was delicious. Sadly, I usually had a Jewish friend over (always the same friend) when it just happened to be BLT night. The first time was just bad luck. The second time was funny. The third time it became a tradition. Then every time he was over we would have BLTs! It was good that he was not particularly orthodox. He ended up loving BLT night!

    For the BLT I cooked the bacon then removed them from the pan, drained the oil and grilled some slices of paesano bread in the pan, allowing a little remaining bacon fat to flavor the bread along with some additional olive oil and butter. I know it sounds extremely unhealthy but I used just a touch of each for flavor.

    I got out my unopened jar of mayonnaise to observe that it was 9 months past its expiration date. It looked pretty nasty so I had to throw it away. In place of mayonnaise I decided to use a little of the balsamic shallot mustard I had in the fridge. I put a very light spread of it on both slices of bread and then topped the bottom piece of bread with lettuce, thick slices of tomato, bacon and sliced avocado.

    Since I used avocado it should technically be called a BLT&A but that just didn't sound appropriate.

    I've got to say, the result was pretty good. In the future I think I would continue to use a sweet or spicy mustard in place of mayonnaise.

    I took our onions, garlic, garlic scapes, and peppers and browned them lightly in a little olive oil. Then I threw in some of the green and yellow zucchini and cooked it down with a bit of basil and oregano. Then I added in some tomato with a dash of balsamic and some salt and pepper. I like to really stew my ratatouille down until it is almost overcooked. Then I serve it warm or room temperature. While it's not a traditional accompaniment to a BLT I thought it would go nicely.

    This wine had everything going for it, a cool label and a really awesome name: Gnarly Head. It probably should have been called Gnarly Tree but it is really not my place to judge. Perhaps when I open my own vineyard I can make such decisions.

    The Merlot* was not necessarily the perfect accompaniment to a BLT but it was a decent enough red wine.

    *Note: If you are one of those pretentious jackasses who has seen the movie Sideways one or more times and now fancy yourself a wine expert, please excuse yourself from this blog, find a deep puddle and promptly submerge your head. You are a jerk and people may be civil to you to your face but truthfully they find you insufferable.

    I'm constantly torn between enjoying the delicious fruit we're getting in its natural state and trying something new and exciting. While this isn't super new (or exciting) it was something slightly different enough to keep us interested but didn't require so much preparation that we wouldn't be able to savor the delicious berries as they were. I took a Belgian waffle, topped it with a dollop of yogurt, sprinkled berries and slivered almonds on top and then drizzled with maple syrup.

    And there you have it.

    I'm not sure about tomorrow night. Jen and are having a battle to see who can work the latest (I may win tomorrow) so there may be nothing to eat or write about. We should be back in full force on Friday to rock your world with tales of a meal so amazing that it may leave you speechless!

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  2. New Vegetables, Late Start

    Posted 22 Jul 2008

    Once again I had to race home from work to hit the farm share pickup right before they closed up at 7:30PM. It was sort of the dregs at that point but I got some pretty good stuff. Normally there are a lot more insufferable thirty-somethings with baby bjorns and toddlers eating raw live organic macrobiotic flax cookies crowding the line. I was able to make it through the line with relative ease this evening.

    Here's what week six's crop looked like: Red leaf lettuce, mixed salad greens, a giant head of cabbage, three cucumbers, a pint of blueberries, some white onions, a bulb of garlic, three tomatoes, two Italian peppers and three zucchini.

    I was able to make a pretty decent salad out of the mixed greens, tomato (which actually tasted like tomato!), the cucumbers (for Jen only, naturally), the leftover croutons, the leftover mozzarella, the last of our pine nuts, some of our last batch of garlic scapes a little olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper.

    We also enjoyed a baked potato with the remaining horseradish cream from our London Broil night. We had our leftover pasta from last night and the remaining cucumber salad as well.

    We also had some fresh blueberries with yogurt and granola. I'm always tempted to do something with the berries but just having them plain and simple seems to me to be the best way to enjoy them. It's also conveniently easy for us lazy types.

    Tomorrow night should give me a little more time to prepare something more inspired as I will return from work quite a few hours earlier than this evening.

    Tomorrow, be prepared to read about a meal fit for royalty! The type of royalty with a small selection of vegetables and a strong desire to clean out their fridge and pantry!

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  3. Cleaning Out The Fridge

    Posted 21 Jul 2008

    Jen had to go to work early today and work late tonight so before I went to work I put together a quick pasta with all the remaining produce.

    I roasted the Italian peppers on our stove's burner, then covered them to let them steam up a bit so I could remove the skin. I also steamed up the remaining kohlrabi then sliced it up along with the peppers and tossed it all together with yesterday's pesto.

    The result was pretty tasty. The kohlrabi lost a lot of bitterness after steaming and was actually very sweet and buttery.

    Now our fridge is cleaned out, almost 100% free of produce, just waiting for tomorrow's pick up. As a normal week does, this week's menus sort of fizzled out as the produce choices ran out. It will be interesting to see what tomorrow holds. I would like to try a little harder to capture the essense of each ingredient (a la Iron Chef, the original Iron Chef, not the crummy American version).

    That is the trouble with getting all these great fruits and vegetables: part of me wants to be creative, part of me just wants to eat the vegetables nearly plain or simply cooked to enjoy them without excessive cooking and seasoning.

    Unless they are nasty cucumbers, then I will boil them, season them up and still think they are disgusting.

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  4. Early to Rise, Motorcycle Surprise

    Posted 20 Jul 2008

    This morning Jen and I woke up at 6:28AM so that we would be ready to catch the 6:30AM start of today's Tour de France stage 15. It was a pretty groggy start to the day but well worth the excitement of watching the Tour de France travel through (SPOILER alert!) Italy!

    I put on a kettle of tea, something Phil Liggett, the great announcer for the Tour de France, is always inviting the American audience to do as they are waking up so early. Phil Liggett vastly overestimates the amount of tea that Americans drink. I may be the exception to that and for that reason I imagine that he is talking directly to me!

    When I exited our apartment to get the newspaper this is what I saw:

    That marks the second time this week that a random motorcycle has been parked in our hallway! Wednesday morning as we left for work, this is what I saw:

    This sleek yellow crotch rocket was just parked there as if that was something that was acceptable for one to do. Someone else must have discovered it first as it was wallpapered with notes alerting the driver to the error of his ways. I'm not sure if they ever got to today's bike.

    We then made our tea and coffee and enjoyed a breakfast of fresh mango slices and toast with two spreads: chocolate hazelnut and grapefruit marmelade. The problem with eating breakfast at 6:45AM is that lunch usually does not come soon enough.

    We started cobbling together our lunch around 11:00AM as the Tour was winding down. I made a salad with the remaining red leaf lettuce and beets. I also used goat cheese, avocado and ground almonds with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

    I made a quick pesto from our leftover basil and ground almonds. We had it tossed with spaghetti. The early start wore on us a bit and we had some dinner guests this evening so we took a little bit of a nap this afternoon to get some strength back. We still had some vegetables to use up from this week's share and we needed to be in top form in order to do so.

    I started out tonight by making one of my least favorite salads! I hate cucumbers but I understand that there are people that have not yet figured out that they are disgusting little weakly-flavored logs of grossness. And since those fools exist I am able to pawn off these nasty little things from our farm share.

    It's a simple enough salad to make, if you like disgusting cucumbers. I just slice them nice and thin and marinate them with a little drizzle of rice wine vinegar, tamari, honey, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and sesame seeds. I also tossed in some thinly sliced red onion for good measure. I had to have Jen taste it to tell me if it tasted good. She said it did.

    I didn't believe her.

    I made coconut rice with the sliced remainder of our green onions as the base for our main course.

    The main course was Ginger Chili Shrimp with Broccoli and it was shamefully easy to make. I just heated up some sesame oil and sauteed some onion and slivered broccoli stem with a bit of garlic and ginger. After they were nicely browned I tossed in the shrimp and cooked them up for a couple of minutes before tossing in the broccoli florets. I reduced some leftover ginger-chili sauce I had along with the juices from the shrimp and cooked vegetables. I sweetened it with a small spoonful of sugar and then thickened it with a cornstarch slurry. I tossed everything together and it came out very nicely.

    Tonight's beverage pairing: Bluepoint Summer Ale from Long Island, New York. Very tasty. I don't really believe much in beer or wine pairings but this went quite well with our meal. It was 95 degrees today and the Summer Ale was very refreshing.

    For Dessert we used up some of the New Jersey blueberries which have been sweet, delicious, plentiful and extremely cheap this July. We served them over angel food cake with whipped cream and chopped almonds.

    Overall it was a pretty successful day and week. The only thing we have left is our two Italian peppers. Luckily the peppers will hold up better than most of leafy greens we've been getting. We should be able to use them up soon.

    Tomorrow is a late night for Jen and I so we probably won't update again until we get our next haul on Tuesday.

    Smell ya later!

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  5. Leftover Bonanza

    Posted 20 Jul 2008

    Today was a work day for both of us, despite being a Saturday. Nate was doing an opening shift, which is nothing too new, but I had to go to a product launch at 10:45 .... which turned out to be a product launch that was rescheduled to 5pm. So since it was so far downtown, I made it a day for running errands downtown, doing some shopping, and, most importantly, eating some delicious food.

    Since it was just about lunch time by the time we figured out we'd need to head back to the store at 5pm, Christian, the photographer, and I decided to grab some. We went to Inoteca, where we split the truffle egg toast, which is a delicious and extremely truffly Fontina-covered slice of toast ready to be soaked with egg yolks.

    Then, continuing a trend begun with Nate's genius lasagna, I had a panini made with zucchini, ricotta and fresh mint, with a chunky tomato puree on the side.

    Then, because it was, after all, already 95 degrees and baking on the Lower East Side, we went to Il Laboratorio del Gelato, and let the kid serving pick the flavors (3 each). We got one cup with pink peppercorn and tarragon, dark chocolate, and coconut, and one cup with fresh Black Mission fig, mint chocolate chip and blackberry. Both combinations, while unorthodox, were fully enjoyed. The pink peppercorn and tarragon was the standout, even though I don't care that much for tarragon, generally -- it was spicy and creamy. The fresh black mission fig flavor was also great, but confusing: at first, you don't really taste much, just a generalized creaminess. Then you get hit with a flavor of, there's no way around it, dirt. And then, at the end, a wave of figginess. Bizarre. Totally bizarre -- but surprisingly yum.

    By the time I made it home from the rescheduled launch, it was go time for dinner. Since we're having some friends over tomorrow, we decided it was a prime night to clean out the fridge and make a smorgasboard-style dinner of leftovers. This also had the advantage of requiring no oven, no boiling water, no microwave and thus no use of anything, that however minorly, might contribute to adding to our A/Cs burden. For it is STILL 93 degrees in NYC right now, despite being almost 10 o'clock.

    I made some bruchetta-style appetizers with the leftover bread, using a recipe that we stole then adapted from Plum Pomidor -- baguette, goat cheese, avocado and salt and pepper.

    Nate tossed some of the beets we got with balsamic, olive oil and s&p as well.

    And really, those are the only two things we made -- Nate made some salad, we hauled out the last few gratined potatoes, the leftover piece of lasagna, the leftover tomato-mozzarella salad, the leftover mashed potatoes, the leftover broccoli and the leftover croutons. And then we watched the Tour, recorded this morning.

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Member Title:
Mrs. Chefelf
42 years old
June 27, 1980
The wilds of Spanish Canada in NYC
Being Chefelf's girlfriend has been an interest of mine for some time now. I also enjoy am interested in packing, unpacking, and organizing acres of cardboard boxes into a livable structure.

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