mangofandango: (parks/hauntes/drunk ron swanson!)
Everybody, I just found a half a bag of maple cotton candy from last weekend's farmer's market. And lo, it is still fluffy! There is one good thing about dry winter air. ;) And so, things that make me happy: maple cotton candy, yesss yes. (When I was a kid, this was the fabled stuff of county fairs. It could not be found anywhere else. Now that I live in Vermont, I can buy it at farmers' markets pretty much whenever! I feel lucky! :))

New friends, wondering about the 100things thing? It's an effort to revitalize LJ and personal posting by choosing a topic and committing to 100 posts about it, over any amount of time you want. I am doing 100 things that make me happy (which is so easy I tend to forget to do it) and 100 things I have made with my CSA deliveries (which requires more forethought and thus I often fail to do it). But you know, no time limit, so whatevs.
mangofandango: (ff/drankmywar/problematic)
Two soups! Because it's soup weather, natch. (Potatoes, sweet potatoes, stock, garlic, and sunflower oil are local and/or from the CSA. Other stuff not so much, because it's January. ;))

Sweet Potato spinach soup, adapted from Quick Fix Vegan

3-4 sweet potatoes
1 onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
sunflower oil for sauteeing
1" or so piece of ginger root, chopped very fine
1 qt stock
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
1 14oz can coconut milk
1/2 tsp-ish coriander
2 tbls. or so of tamari
a bunch of fresh spinach, chopped (4 cups, I think? Or so?)
salt and pepper to taste

Sautee the onion, garlic, and diced sweet potatoes in the oil for a few minutes, then add the garlic and ginger and cook a few minutes more, stirring often. Add the stock (and additional liquid sufficient to cover the potatoes) and boil 15-20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are done. Add tomatoes, lower heat, simmer a couple more minutes. Then turn off heat and blend as desired (I immersion blended some, while leaving plenty of chunks, just to bring everything together and make it a bit creamier.) Add coconut milk and spinach, stir until the spinach is wilted. Season to taste!

This hit the particular spot that I was looking for: warming and colorful. It's not something I'd make all the time, but I'd definitely do it again.

I more or less followed this recipe from our CSA email:
Potato Cilantro Soup
2 TB olive oil or butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped (or 2 leeks)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 quart chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
salt and pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes
2/3 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
lime juice

Saute onion and garlic slowly until tender. Add the broth, potatoes. Cook til the potatoes are tender about half an hour. Add most of the cilantro leaving a few tablespoons for garnish. Use an immersion blender or food processor to puree. Serve hot or cold, and garnish with the remaining fresh cilantro. Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice before serving.

Optional: add 1 diced, seeded jalepeno pepper along with the broth and potatoes. Add up to 1/4 cup of cream to soup just before serving. Add a couple chopped scallions to the soup after pureeing.

I left out the spicy stuff for Sophie, but she doesn't actually like potato soups in the future, I'd use at least the red pepper flakes and possibly the jalepeno too. It was good like this too, though, and I'd totally make it again.
mangofandango: (wonderfalls/ blessedbeast/ gonegreen)
Spaghetti with broccoli cream "pesto".

It's not really "pesto", but it's not really a cream sauce either - the bulk is the broccoli, it's creamy but not swimming in cream. I made the whole thing without pepper and added copious amounts of it to mine and Ryan's bowls - Sophie loves broccoli but is completely "hot" intolerant right now, that can extend to black pepper. So. It was pretty good! Parm is very important.

PS: I didn't steam the broccoli as they do in the recipe, I chopped it small in the food processor and sautéed it in the pan with the already tender onions and garlic in butter and olive oil. That worked fine. I ended up putting the sauce back in the food processor again once I added the cream, to make it a bit more sauce-like, and there was quite a bit of pasta water involved in thinning it enough, too. I think I had quite a bit more broccoli than was called for, though.
mangofandango: (fnl/annalouwho/eastdillon)
So I kind of neglected this branch of 100things, even though it is so easy to write about! But I thought about it today while driving because it is SO DAMN BEAUTIFUL here. Just driving Ryan to and from work, on the highway no less, is always beautiful, in different ways every day. We have mountain views, and a view of the valley, and glimpses of the lake, and farm land...just while driving on the highway. I sometimes take the slower route though, just so I can take things in a bit more. Right now it is especially notable, because of the autumn leaves and farms with huge piles of pumpkins, and the light.

Things #5: that I live in such a beautiful place.
mangofandango: (ff/ wednesday_icons/ FRUITY OATY BAR)

Every now and then our CSA gives us this ginormo bag (okay it's like 5 lbs. but that is pretty ginormo) of rolled oats. I struggled to use them all up before the next one appears (in fact, I never do and I end up with a backlog and/or giving away oats and/or there was that one bag WITH THE MOTHS OH GOD). No more, for I have discovered making granola! Plus, it is nut-free and safe for Sophie! I missed granola, this is kind of a revelation, why did I not try it sooner? It is not hard. Here is the recipe (which I cut in half-ish, usually, but):

10 cups rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup sesame and/or sunflower seeds (I have not included these because I don't have them, but I am sure they would be good!)
2 tsps cinnamon
1 cup sunflower (or other mildly flavored) oil
1 cup honey (I like less)
1/2 cup maple syrup

You can add dried fruits, nuts, etc. to your heart's content - the recipe says it allows for a up to 3 cups of additions before you really need to change your ratio. I use a little less sweetener and a little extra oatage, since I haven't added much in the way of additions yet (we have done this twice).

Stir it all together in a big bowl until it is well mixed. Pre-heat the oven to 250, spread the granola out on a baking sheet or a couple of 9x13 pans. Bake for 70-90 minutes, stirring at 30 minutes and about every 10 minutes thereafter until it looks golden brown and done (I taste to see if it's granola-y. :) I think last time, I raised the temp a bit to like 325 at the 70 minute mark and did a few minutes at that temperature to speed it up because I was in a hurry, that worked fine. :))

There is granola baking here RIGHT THIS MINUTE and some of that granola is going to go on top of apple crisp later. Also Sophie and I made vanilla ice cream with a caramel swirl. OMG.
mangofandango: (miyazaki/raiindust/spiritedaway)
This is kind of mundane, but one of my favorite things to make that I often forget about is a baked potato party, complete with 27,000 toppings. This week, there were russet potatoes, onions, garlic, and cilantro in my share and I had a lot of spinach left from last week. SO!

You got your baked potato, but here are the toppings I made last night:

*roasted garlic
*carmelized onions
*sauteed spinach
*sauteed broccoli (I love it with lemon and garlic, Sophie prefer it plain, so we went with just olive oil and salt this time.)
*plain yogurt
*shredded cheese (cheddar for Sophie, pepperjack for us!)
*hot sauce

Other things I love that we did not have last night, in case you're getting excited about eating a baked potato like I am!
*black olives
*smoked tempeh (a bacon alternative, though it is not at all bacon-like it is smoky and salty!)
*proper sour cream (we didn't have any last night)
*sauteed mushrooms

Now I'm going to need to eat a second potato RIGHT AWAY OMG.
mangofandango: (vm/ helcaxe/ vm5)

Roasted zucchini, heirloom tomatoes, garlic, and fresh basil. Roasting tomatoes is pretty great and not a thing I do enough. They get all delicate and intense and rawr. I served this over spaghetti and it was fuckawesome. :)
mangofandango: (pd/thevividimagery/yaypretty)
I failed to take a picture, which is too bad because it was pretty:

Soba noodles with edamame, fried tofu, garlic, leeks and spinach, dressed in a little sunflower oil and the most amazing tamari evarrrr.

The CSA share had a huge thing of edamame, not only in the pods but also still on the branches! They also gave me the spinach, the garlic, and the tamari, which is from Quebec (I think) and made the "real", traditional way... which is a really tasty way. (Something about the byproducts of making miso, I read the description but don't recall the details.) I bought the soba, tofu, and leeks. I am not the biggest fan of soba, but it was tasty and the color contrast was nice, and it was a big hit with my fam. The fresh edamame were either a hair undercooked or a bit firmer than I am used to, but they were delicious.

I am starving right now, and roasting some tomatoes and zucchinis for my next installment. ;)
mangofandango: (ad/gentlycollapsed/marksmanship)

A 100% local pizza: Maplebrook farm mozzerella, Doe's leap goat cheese, flour, pizza sauce, summer squash, basil, mizuna, and onions from the CSA.

Shitty old iphone photography aside, yum. :)

I have not forgotten my 100things, I think about them often actually! I have a life balance problem at the moment, wherein I cannot stop filling my days with things and I drive back and forth to Burlington too much and the thing is, I am just not really quite ready to change that? But I am hoping it will start to naturally slow down as summer does. I have to say though, I have eaten more dinners outside and seen more live music this summer than in any other summer ever, so there is that, and it is good.
mangofandango: (parks/hauntes/janet snakehole!)
You're going to laugh at me. But if you watch this video, I bet you are also going to smile. Possibly a lot! Do it and report back, I dare you.

I feel like I have a full time job lately Enjoying The Shit Out of Summer, and we are. And now it is July, and I love July. I have to get us ready for yoga now, but I'll be back. :)
mangofandango: (ff/ wednesday_icons/ FRUITY OATY BAR)

Quesadillas with garlicky kale and pintos, Cholula for those who are not spicy-averse.

I made the quesadillas with flour tortillas (the ones sold as gorditas? like, a little thicker and made with sunflower oil? I don't know why they are not just tortillas, whatever), kale that had already been sauteed with olive oil and garlic, and pepper jack. Cheddar in Sophie's because she does not like the spice. The pintos I just cooked quickly with some sauteed vidalia onion, salt, pepper, and a handful of spinach. I served the pintos on the side and we added them to our quesadillas, because cooking those suckers with lots of filling in them is Hard.

I will definitely make them again, we all enjoyed them. Here is Sophie, chowing down:

Suddenly the spring CSA share is like greensapalooza, so...creative ways to use up greens is the thing, right now. Seriously, in this share we got: kale, sweet salad turnips with their greens on, swiss chard, cilantro, basil, spinach, and mustard greens. Also some other non-green things (frozen wild blueberries, potatoes, well, cucumber, but it's not a leafy green ;)), but OH MY GOD, GREENS. SO MANY.
mangofandango: (ff/reve_lucide/ kaylee)

Today we braved the chilly rain to go to the farmer's market, which was worth it because Adam had strawberries. The first local strawberries I could get my hands on, as he sold out before I got there the last time. Oh my goodness, people, they are So Good. The farmer's market probably warrants it's own "things that make me happy" post, because it is one of my favorite we won't dwell on that right now.

But after the farmer's market and before going to buy Sophie a new bicycle helmet, we went to a coffee shop to warm up and so Sophie could use the bathroom. Going to coffee shops makes me happy. They have to be good ones - a bad coffee place is just depressing. But there have been a lot of good ones in my life so far.

Pre-Sophie, I spent a lot of time in coffee shops. I would bring my book or my journals, and spend hours reading, writing, emo-ing, listening to music, or whatever. Ryan and I used to go on weekly open mic dates at a coffee shop in the town where we grew up. We drank horrible sweet things like the Funky Monkey and some snickers bar latte business, I don't even know - I just know they were incredibly sweet and served in cups the size of bowls and covered with whipped cream. :)

That's Muddy Waters in the photo up there, taken on my terrible cell phone camera and I apologize. Isn't it pretty, with its wood and stained glass and extreme coziness? Muddy Waters makes a generally perfect vanilla latte, in the perfect size - I really wish 8 ounce beverages were a thing at more places. They are my favorite on a rainy day. Always warm, always with the just-right music, and a place I have been going for many years. Today, Sophie read (recited) "In The Night Kitchen" while Ryan and I drank our coffee.

I came here when I was someone who just visited here. I think I probably came here as a child, even, with my parents. I came here when I first moved into town. I was here was I was pregnant, drinking minimal amounts of coffee and larger amounts of ginger lemonade, eating tiramisu. And now I come here with my family. I love lots of other coffee shops for different reasons, but this one I have mostly known forever. It makes me happy.
mangofandango: (ff/drankmywar/problematic)

Localvore primevera: the pasta and cheese were not local, but everything else is! The CSA gave me carrots over the past few weeks (so very many carrots omg), ramps, and basil. I added a shallot, and fiddleheads Ryan harvested from the edge of the stream. I boiled the fiddleheads for the requisite 10 minutes, sauteed everything else in olive oil with garlic, and mixed them together with white wine, salt and pepper. Once they were done I cooked the pasta and made the alfredo.

I sort of avoid making things that require three pans and three seperate projects at the same time, because my kitchen is tiny and if the three things are remotely involved, it gets kind of...epic, very quickly. But this is well worth the involvement and mess. :)
mangofandango: (community/isis2015/blanketfort!)
This quote:

"…because nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff… Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself love it. Hank, when people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all. Like, ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness’.”
― John Green

It makes me happy because it's so true! I love things SO MUCH. And that is why this series of posts is both incredibly easy and incredibly hard for me, especially in getting started - where to begin? Do I limit the scope? What's the right mix of tiny things and huge things? Ultimately I think it has to be kind of stream of conscious, and opportunistic, seizing on whatever shiny thing about life I feel like talking about. I'll probably write down a list, and I'll probably change it out 5 times. Who knows. But I want to say: I am a nerd, and it feels good. I like nerds. I like people who understand boundless enthusiasm and passion, fascination, people who actually make a squeeing sound, who can find happiness in dandelions or the perfect song on the radio and who understand why I cheer and clap when I watch TV. It's a good club, nerddom. It's a happy place.
mangofandango: (amelie/annabobanna/hereinmyhead)
I have decided to do 100 things I made with my CSA deliveries, and 100 things that make me happy. I will be tagging with "100things", so you can add or remove that tag from your watch list as desired. :)

I will try to pair those things in the same post sometimes, but today I think I will start with just the food one.

So, first, for those not aware: a CSA is "community supported agriculture", wherein you pay a farmer ahead of time for weekly (in our case, anyway) deliveries of whatever produce they choose to send your way. Our CSA includes veggies from one farm, but also local products from a variety of local businesses that partner with this beyond veggies we get things like bread from Red Hen bakery, cheese from one of the many artisan cheesemakers around here, yogurt from Butterworks Farms, miso from some local miso-making people, and so on. It's cool! I plan our meals around using up all the ingredients we are given to make it as budget-friendly as possible for us. (I am absolutely aware that I am privileged to have access to a CSA, fresh local produce of any kind, or many of the other things I use when I cook and plan meals. I hope to write about food with that in mind, at least to some degree.)

I have a lot of thoughts, about food! But I also just put a lot of effort into planning meals each week, and I hope that writing about what I cook is a reminder to me when I am stuck on what to do with all that stinkin' cabbage, or whatever. Perhaps it will give some of you some inspiration too. Let me know if you have ideas about what would make this more interesting, whether I should obsessively list what we got in the CSA versus what I bought at the store as I am inclined to because I am nerdy, et cetera.

#1: Using up a giant pile of mizuna and some aging parsnips... )


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