Saturday, September 29, 2007

my poor dizzy head

for some reason, my body is telling me to take it easy by making me feel gross and dizzy after too much activity. i went home sick early from work yesterday, took a big nap, sat around all night (for a good cause), and felt fine. this morning, i went to the farmer's market, came home, sat around watching the last half of when the levees broke, felt fine, then took a shower and starting cleaning the house, and felt bad again. bleh. once in a while, my body does this. so, we have food from the market, but i think it might be a pizza night so i can feel good enough to check out some kick-ass throat singing later. and i have to check out some of the march fourth marching band to represent my hometown, don't i?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Bloomington vegan Sunday brunches

Anyone feeling especially gung-ho about this? Want to share your leadership skills? The latest missive: Hello to all, Thanks to all of you for showing interest and taking making an effort to let it be known. Apologies also for the delay in any type of communication about the brunch. As it is, new things have come to light, circumstances have changed... and sadly I rarely have time on Sundays anymore. However, there is still a willing group of individuals in our community that would love to get together and feast, talk, hear music and have a good time. So, here is my proposal: if there are any individuals who would like to take the reigns and manage the event on sunday: i.e. setup a couple tables, cook/serve food, take people's money, I and anyone else who is willing will help in the planning and promotion during the week. Any Sunday that I am free, I will be helping out as well. The plan is sketchy at best, but it must start somewhere no? Any and all suggestions are welcome, please reply to all so we can have a discussion amongst everyone here. Thanks. I can put you in contact with this group if you'd like.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

adventures in produce

vegetable confession: i've never cared too much for winter squash. i try butternut every year, but unless it's mixed with an equal portion of cheese in a ravioli or some such, i'm still not sold. same thing with sweet potatoes. isn't that sad? i like to make an effort to like new vegetables, however, so last night i picked up a spaghetti squash to see what i could make of it. quorn chicken was on sale, so i purchased up a box of fake breasts. hey, they're not packaged in plastic. (ha ha?) the box has several serving suggestions, one of which was chicken parmesan. "gosh, box," i thought to myself, "that's actually not a bad idea. you're a lot more helpful than most boxes." come on - who's putting pimento smiles on triscuits? so: fake chicken parm with spaghetti squash. after a vigorous poking the squash went into a 425-degree oven for 40 minutes or so and came out soft. there's no real need to cut off the ends. i'm just dumb or something. after cutting in half, mine looked like so: hmm. seeds. what to do with the seeds? easy: scoop them out. there aren't very many, and there's plenty of squash down below. just scrape with a fork to separate the strands. it's easy, i promise. sure, things got a little messy, but only because i didn't really know what i was in for. just try not to drop seeds on the floor. they're slippery suckers. my fresh-fast tomato sauce was a little wet after adding the squash strands, but a little extra cooking might help. i made a really fast loaf of bread (thanks breadmaker, once again. you know what i like), and that sopped up the juice nicely.
one medium spaghetti squash made enough for two servings, seconds for my dear husband, and mixed with a little leftover penne and the rest of the mozzarella, plenty of lunch for both of us tomorrow.
we'll definitely do spaghetti squash again. i didn't fall in love with it, exactly, but there should be some tasty possibilities there. would i mistake it for pasta? no way, but it still works. and no carbohydrate guilt with the bread. you have to love that part.
*thanks to brian for being johnny-on-the-spot with the new camera-computer hookup! we love pictures!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

portland in september

it sure is hard to both eat well and avoid rapid plastic consumption when you're eating on vacation, especially if you're the type, like me, who prefers to "go with the flow." and especially if you're vegetarian. bread and cheese are two of my favorite things, but it seems like i consumed waaay too much of both on our trip home to portland and the west coast this last week. i had fantastic muffins at crema and costello's, drooled over produce (flats with red raspberries, white raspberries and blackberries...i could have cried a little) at the wednesday market, indulged in the usual garden dungeon burger, and drank a whole bunch of beer. we didn't get around to buying bread or coffee to take home, but i did grab a loaf of san francisco sourdough for our friend as a hostess gift. apparently, it's the "finest" you can get at the oakland airport. i hope it gets eaten. everyone aged on this trip. my four-year-old niece reads a little. my nephew is seven months and is all smiles and actually getting fun. i saw both brothers' new homes for the first time. they're both first-time home buyers. good friends got married, and a single friend decided on the way to the nuptials that she might be in the minority now. that could be true. us marrieds are taking over. we partied with kids and dogs. i saw my dad's parents for the first time in 5 years, and they're not in the best health. my aunts and uncle and cousins age at the same rate whether i see them or not. everyone keeps growing up. brian's bag was the victim of a smash-and-grab in eugene, oregon, and we lost our laptop, his iPod, and most notably for my fine readers, our digital camera docking station. the camera is fine. we have pictures, even. they're just not getting out for a little while. strangely enough, the only thing that really bothers me about this is how upset it made brian, and how it ruined his night, which should have been really freaking fantastic. laptops die. so do iPods. but brian doesn't get to go to his college town (home of 8 years or so), see old friends and reunite with old bandmates to play songs everyday. he deserves fun. that's our trip. a little intense, but not nearly food-intensive enough. tonight i got groceries, so cooking should actually be occurring in this house fairly soon. i can't wait!

home again!

we got in at midnight instead of ten, so i'm a little sluggish here this morning, but we're back! i'm ready for the last tuesday market this afternoon.

Friday, September 14, 2007

i miss you now that you're gone.

wow - when summer's over, it's over, isn't it? one day you're complaining about the heat, and the next day it's all gourds at the grocery store, zucchini and peaches are nowhere to be found, and you find yourself eating an apple a day again. it seems like raspberries just got here. it's the beauty and the curse of eating seasonally - as much as you love seeing your old friends come back into season, it's hard to let things go. soon, the tomatoes will be gone, and i'll be very sad, but fall spinach and lettuces will come back. we haven't had a green salad in ages. it sounds really good. sometimes, like right now, i crave lettuce. i eat it straight out of the salad spinner. i try not to be a vegetarian stereotype, but sometimes, it can't be helped. we'll be on the west coast next week, and i'll try to get some updates in, but the first priority is seeing all those people we love and stumping around stumptown drinking coffee, beer, and generally doing city stuff that we don't get to do here. luckilly, we have a friend staying at our house while we're gone, which assuages my fear of spontaneous combustion. i'll try to get to the wednesday downtown market in portland next week to see what they have, and do my best not to get insanely jealous over the variety and long growing season.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

new local indiana resource

dear diary, sorry i've been neglecting you lately. it's just that i haven't been cooking that much. honest! i've had pizza for dinner two nights in a row! well, there were those english muffins this weekend. those were pretty good, but they were an experiment. they didn't turn out how they were supposed to, though they were good. diary, please don't be mad, but i'll be out of town next week, and i'm not sure how much time we'll spend together. but it's cool enough to use the oven again, so we can look forward to that together! here's a website you'll probably be interested in. it's a local indiana food thing. i haven't had much time to look at it, but we'll look at it together real soon. promise! love, kelley

Saturday, September 8, 2007

reducing fuel dependency - yay, new bike!

ain't she a beaut? okay, admittedly, this bike needs a little work. i bought it today at indiana university's bike auction: my first live auction experience. man, those guys sure knew how to get it done. i was a little in the dark about the whole operation once i actually jumped into the action (am i winning? how much did i bid?) until the hand of destiny pointed at me and said, "SOLD! for 25 dollars to number 240." destiny, i suppose, handed me this mountain bike after my friend mari told me it looked good. thanks, mari, for helping a bike newbie like me. the front brake is disconnected, which is not a huge deal, and the rear tire needs air. it might need to be repaired. not sure. brian's supposed to help me figure out my new pump when he gets home. for the record, i did figure out how to pump up our basketball. score! we're shooting hoops tomorrow! i'll have to read up on rust removal. get some lights and a lock. for now, a helmet and a pump were my priorities, and i've got those covered. maybe i'll take a class at the bike project to get things figured out. i'm a bike rider now! it feels good! p.s. that's our "stompin' shoe" in the background there in front of the recycling. basement crickets. enough said.

Friday, September 7, 2007

local post: it's here!

rougue smokey blue cheese is here! it's a featured cheese at bloomingfoods this month, and i saw it at the west side location. i think that means you can ask to taste it at the deli counter. it's not local, but it seems like the right kind of indulgence. we'll splurge and get a hunk the next time i make a nice loaf of bread.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

home-popped popcorn = delicious.

NY Times: Doctor Links a Man's Illness to a Microwave Popcorn Habit look: just because the company says it's safe doesn't mean it's safe. try popping it (gasp!) on the stove!

italian wheat bread

update: this recipe is fine, but not nearly as good when you make it within the confines of the breadmaker. yes, i tried it last night. the crust, which was chewy with flaky air pockets from the oven, was merely a crumb hazard from the breadmaker. still a good flavor overall, but i recommend the shaping and baking in the oven. next week, baking should be back on for good. temperatures will be in the mid-70s. mid-70s! bring it on! oh, and i was also told this weekend that a certain local bakery *cough* makes dough once a month and freezes it. this is just hearsay, but it would explain a lot. i also had a very bad loaf of bread from a national chain *cough* *panera* recently, and they haven't responded to my polite angry e-mails. so, while we have some decent local sandwich loaves, looks like we're on our own for dinner loaves. and i should have known better than to go to panera. (it was late! i was hungry! i love bread! the other place that shall remain unnamed is not that good! etc.)

Monday, September 3, 2007

italian whole wheat bread

this was a full-flavored, chewy italian loaf that was worth turning on the oven for. at least it was worth turning on the oven for if you're going to leave the house for a potluck directly afterward. the loaf went over extremely well, and since the recipe was requested, here it is. it's from beth hensberger's The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook, which i reccomend heartily to those out there with breadmakers. every recipe i've tried is kelley-proof, which means low-patience for accurate measurement-proof. Italian Whole Wheat Bread for the sponge starter: 1 1/3 cups water 1 1/8 cups bread flour 3/4 cup whole wheat flour 1/4 teaspoon yeast for the dough: 1 cup bread flour 1 tb sugar 1 tb gluten 1 1/2 tsp salt 2 1/4 tsp bread machine yeast yellow cornmeal, for sprinkling 1. place the starter ingredients in the bread pan. process on dough cycle 10 minutes. stop and unplug machine. let the sponge sit in the machine for4 hours, or as long as overnight. 2. place all the dough ingredients in the bread pan with the sponge. start dough cycle. dough will be very moist, tacky, and smooth. 3. line a baking sheet with parchment or silpat and sprinkle with cornmeal. with dough cycle is over, unplug machine. turn the dough onto a clean work surface (i lightly dusted it with flour; the dough is fairly loose) and shape into a tight round. place on baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise until almost tripled in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (oops; i let it double. it was still good - it rose really fast.) 4. twenty minutes before baking, place a baking stone on a rack in the lower third (mine was closer to the middle - see how this is kelley-proof?) of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. 5. slash the surface of the loaf once down the center, no deeper than 1/2 inch. place the baking sheet directly on the hot stone in the oven. reduce the oven to 425. bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and the top sounds hollow when tapped. it won't be very dark brown due to the wheat flour and small amount of sugar. cool the loaf on a rack 20 minutes before slicing and serving. delicious. this also works directly in the breadmaker on a dark setting, which i'll probably try later this week.