Sunday, April 29, 2007


hooray! asparagus arrived this week at the market. i almost missed it, actually, because they were selling it out of a small table a little out of the way. sure, it was a little floppy, but you take what you can get. after a little olive oil bath with salt and pepper and a few minutes on the grill pan, they were pretty tasty to me. i was also able to get turnips...
turnip greens, as it turns out, are delicious! i blanched about 2/3 of them to stir into my barley risotto and threw the rest into my salad mix from the market. they're tender and work for cooking or eating raw.
i got the idea for the barley risotto from this guy over at vegan improv. i'm not really in love with everything he does (i don't think that's the point, anyway), but he does have some interesting ideas.
last time we had risotto, my dear husband was a little disapointed that all we had was rice and mushrooms (or whatever it was), but this meal got a lot of "mmmms." delicious! tonight, the turnips themselves are getting mashed with potatoes, to be served with fake chicken. and asparagus soup. and fresh bread. sunday night dinner is the best.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

reccomended reading

michael pollan is the mostest. we have friends in town, so blogging lags. i'll be back full force soon enough!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

is that all there is?

the scene at the farmer's market was markedly different than the weeks prior. market 4/21 people! vendors! sun! my spirits started to droop, however, as i walked by stand after stand and saw starts and starts and starts and no food. i've already gotten all my seeds and starts i'll need until after the last chance of frost (may 15th), so i came home with mushrooms, coffee, and eggs. now, that's a nice breakfast, but some asparagus would have been wonderful. maybe next week i'll go a little earlier. bloomington coffee roasters a nice girl roasts organic fair-trade coffee the day before market. coffee is something of an achille's heel for most local and sustainable kitchens, but this is a pretty good option. and there's a squirrel on the bag! cute! this morning, i'm nursing a blister from putting in a couple of rows of my community garden plot yesterday. mesclun, spinach, strawberries and something else i've forgotten already. oh, red lettuce. soon: peas. later, the seeds i started last night at home: broccoli, brussels sprouts, basil. columbine for the planter out front. i don't have much of a green thumb, so we'll see how it goes. wish me luck!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

"i refuse this styrofoam!"

tonight i had to make myself and our server uncomfortable by putting up a fight for a cardboard pizza box. apparently, the boss doesn't like it when servers take cardboard boxes for leftovers. tomorrow, i'll drop a line to our favorite pizza place to see what the deal is with that. next time someone tries to give you styrofoam or one of those awful plastic "clams" tell 'em you don't want it! tell them you want something recyclable or biodegradable, and that you'd love to come back to their establishment when that's the case. businesses respond to these latent threats. but then you really do have to patronize the business if they do change. that's why i go to bloomington bagel company! good old bloomington bagel. enjoy a soup in a paper cup, but bring your own spoon. yes, i carry plastic cutlery around with me. do you have a problem with that?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dear Diary,

i can't lie to you. tonight, for dinner, i had nachos and chocolate pudding. now it's almost 9:30, and i'm kind of thinking of heating up some noodles. can you blame me, diary? nachos are good, and sometimes i just don't feel like cooking just for myself! hey, at least i used local cheese and organic salsa. and the tortilla chips that come in a paper bag. the garden of eatin' ones are better, but i can't keep throwing away those bags. maybe i should write garden of eatin' and request biodegradable or recyclable bags. diary, i will let you know how that goes. love, kelley

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

rachel ray can bite it.

30-minute meals my ass. sure, if i spent my workday choreographing my evening meal, created a script, and had people wash my dishes, arrange the ones i would need at the front, making sure i had soy sauce on hand, etc., my meal prep time might speed up too. in this house, i've been making REAL 30-minute meals. all right. admittedly, sometimes they take a little prep. like, i really do wash all my greens at once so they're ready to use. and i do have the luxury of being able to come home at lunchtime to make rice or press tofu. you'll be glad to know that i walk home at lunch, not drive. because that just wouldn't do. today i was going to make rice at lunch, but i forgot. this kind of thing happens a lot. kelley's real 30-minute meals pasta alla early concert (got to leave by 6!) enough pasta for you and a friend (plus leftovers) one can garbonzo beans, drained and rinsed sundried tomatoes (5-6 - DRY dried, cut into bite-sized pieces) two cloves garlic, chopped to your liking half pound mushrooms, chopped big small bunch cooking greens, chopped handful of golden raisins olive oil, of course put your water on. heat up oil in medium-hot pan. throw in mushrooms and garlic. cook until mushrooms have given off their water. drop your pasta and tomatoes in salted, boiling water. throw greens in pan with mushrooms, turn the heat down to low, and let them wilt. add beans and raisins. cover and let beans heat through. pasta should be done by now. drain and add to pan. add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, nutmeg...whatever your heart desires. more olive oil if you're feeling it. grate on some parm if you're into cheese like that. serve. oooh, yeah. how long did that take? LESS than half an hour? thought so. serve with a glass of water and watch an episode of arrested development if desired. tonight we had a tofu/noodle/baby bok choy dish that was good, but doesn't bear repeating. but it did take almost exactly 30 minutes to prepare, INCLUDING dish washing! ha HA!

Monday, April 16, 2007

mmm, milk.

i can see why you wouldn't want to drink milk. most milk sold in america is produced by cows under extreme distress in factory farms. they're forced to eat corn because corn is cheap, antibotics are put in their feed because such proximity fosters disease, and the dairy industry thinks we ought to just deal with it, beacause bovine growth hormone and antibotics are probably just fine. and, to be fair, something else will probably make you sick and kill you first. sorry. the milk will just help. also, after their sad factory farm cow lives, the cow is not exactly going to be retired out to pasture. so, you go organic, right? well, that might not be the BEST solution. USDA Organic and Oregon Tilth Certified Organic are two completely different things. I walked down to Kroger on Sunday morning to pick up some milk, and I had a choice between USDA Organic from Horizon Organics, or Oregon Tilth Certified from their house brand. I went with the house brand. That looks like it may have been a smarter choice than I knew. be continued.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

new recipes

the main reason i started this blog was to keep myself honest. that is, to not be environmentally-conscious "tomorrow" when i had the time and energy, but to do it every day and have the responsibility of reporting back. so far, it's mostly working, but steps need to be made. but that's the point, right? i'm not omnipotent, i have a full-time job and interests other than cooking, etc., but i still can put forth the effort to keep the kitchen sustainable. or at least try to get better at it. on $70/week. getting there!
(can you tell i'm down on myself for tossing plastic?)
today i'm happy to report that we tried alton brown's whole wheat pancakes and vegetarian times' chilaquiles with salad, and that both recipes were both great successes. pancakes have always been a weakness in my cooking repertoire, but alton steered me right on these. about 2 of them filled me up, and though i felt a little like taking a nap directly after eating them, i had plenty of energy for the 3-mile Homeward Bound walk for the homeless afterward. (you can still donate money on the sidebar there, if you hate homelessness in bloomington and monroe county, indiana.) the chilaquiles garnered an enthusiastic "delicious!" from my dear husband. he's a wonderfully tactful and honest judge of my cooking, and a girl couldn't ask for anything more.
chilaquiles mmm, delicious! tomorrow, a milk report. tonight, sleep.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

market day!

did you hear about this big storm that's supposed to hit the northeast today? well, we haven't gotten the brunt of it, but it's obvious that another cold front has come through. in other words? it's not exactly prime market weather, for patrons or the farmers. Farmer's Market 2nd week there are two thin rows here. in the height of the market, there will be about 6 more, with tables leading you in and out, a main stage with music, the enthusiastic guy who does beatles covers (the only time i've ever liked "don't pass me by"), and children's music, plus political tables. right now the barack obama people are toughing it out at the far end on your left, there. near the bloomingfoods van. the bounty, was, as you might imagine, a little thin. the fellow set up there in the middle (nice guy!) was sold out of kale. he had a few green onions, but the white parts looked a little under-developed, so i made pass. here's what i got: this week's bounty salad greens, eggs, and mushrooms from the Mushroom Man. hmm. well, things are only going to get better as time goes on. check out a close-up of these beautiful eggs. happy eggs some have this really lovely green/blue color that i just can't get over. the flash washes it out a little. today was also Step It Up! 2007. our action took place at city hall, adjacent to the farmer's market. step it up!  2007 look how happy the mayor is to be handing out free compact fluorescent light bulbs! i got one. the last time i bought light bulbs, i was thrown into a eco-tizzy by having to choose between conventional lightbulbs in recyclable cardboard packaging and compact fluorescents in those awful thick plastic cages. i chose conventional. apparently, soon they'll be selling cfl's in cardboard packages for cheap at bloomingfoods. quandry resolved! hooray!

Friday, April 13, 2007

step it up!

don't forget that tomorrow is the National Day of Climate Action. it's so official, it takes caps! check for actions near you here. starting today, i'm not driving to work anymore unless i have a bonified work-related reason. next week, for example, i'm going to cruise around town delivering brochures, but about 3 days a week i'm just at the office, which is a mere mile or so away from my house. lazy, lazy. it's time to just strap on sneakers, put the heels in my bag, and walk! i'm also going to start turning my work computer off every night. no, i didn't before. because...why? okay, it's clear that i'm just lazy. but steps are being made. are you making a step to combat climate change?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

who wants sprouts?

sprouts these are the garlic-toasted brussels sprouts from vegan with a vengeance. sorry to say i didn't love them. after a little googling about their sulphurous compounds, i found a site that said brussels sprouts should be a little larger than olives. wow. really? they get that small? these were not that small, though i imagine the recipe would have worked a lot better if they had been. as it was, after eating a few, i popped the rest back in the oven for another 10 minutes. that's a long time, considering the original cooking time was about 15. kelley's tip of the day: when foisting new vegetables on your family, don't say anything until after the meal. then, you can ask, "did you like the kale/brussels sprouts/etc.?" and the new produce is judged only on what it just tasted like. this may only work with my husband, but, heck. try it out! non-cobb salad non-cobb salad. told you it was substantial!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

quick and easy

the last two nights haven't lended themselves to careful and studied meal preparation. on monday, i left work at five and needed to have dinner on the table at 5:30. last night, i was working (kind of - it was more fun than work) until almost 9, and was ready to eat when i got in the door. so. what is a girl to do? 1. salad! monday i went back to an old recipe that never fails to please - non-cobb salad. when you're having salad as a meal, you'd better make it substantial, right? right. our non-cobb had romaine, annie's cheddar bunnies, hard-cooked eggs, boca chicken, and tempeh bacon. if you don't consider that salad a meal, we can't hang out. unless you're training to be an ultimate fighting champion or something. that's pretty cool. 2. ragout! i'm going to find out exactly what a ragout is. right now. wikipedia says: The term ragout (French ragoƻt) can refer to a main-dish stew or to a sauce for noodles or other starchy foods. The basic method of preparation involves slow cooking over a low heat. The potential ingredients are many: ragouts may be prepared with or without meat, a wide variety of vegetables may be incorporated, and they may be more or less heavily spiced and seasoned. huh. all right. well, the recipe in vegetarian times called this dish a ragout, and i'm not going to call them out, though the cooking time was under 30 minutes. think of the dish as garlic-y cannellinis and mushrooms. i added peas just because i needed something green. with toasted breadcrumbs, it was a really nice, quick, comforting meal that came together in the commercial breaks for that search for the new pussycat doll reality show. don't judge me. for both meals: eggs: farmer's market. unfortunately, i wasted two eggs by trying to get ahead of the game and cook them during my lunch break. i remembered them after my 3 o'clock meeting. oops. cheddar bunnies, romaine, peas: organic, from co-op boca chicken, lightlife tempeh bacon, breadcrumbs, garlic oil, mushrooms: from co-op. can't remember if they were organic right this moment, as i type away from home. cannellis: goya, from co-op. no organic white beans around, and i had the recipe in mind. ranch dressing: not-so-supermarket. there's no light ranch at the co-op. shocking, yes. waste: 2 hard-boiled eggs that sat in lukewarm water for 5 hours, plastic chicken wrappers, plastic tempeh wrapper. quorn doesn't wrap its patties individually, in case you were interested. but is mycoprotein sustainable? guess it's time to find out.

Monday, April 9, 2007

membership means ownership. or so they say.

my sweetie's already tucked into bed, so i ought to make this quick. firstly, i want to thank all the cashiers at bloomingfoods over the last year and a half for asking me for my member number without ever being pushy about membership. secondly, i would like to thank chris, my cashier tonight, for pointing out that one doesn't necessarily need to lay out the ninety dollars up front. you can pay just $7.50 a month for a year, then, presto! you're a member! and, in the meantime, you get the member discount. it's a no-brainer, really, especially since it'll (almost) pay for itself. didn't even hold up the line behind me. it's a beautiful thing. now, if they would just finish the grocery store that's between work and home, things would really start looking up. one more thing: tonight i made a leap and bought brussels sprouts. i've never had them that i can remember, since growing up they were more of a punchline than a vegetable. all the vegan blogs go crazy for the things. then again, the vegan blogs go crazy for things like brownies made with pureed prunes. not that i have a problem with prunes. or with brownies. i like both very much. more than the other.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

nothing to eat?

part of paring down our grocery budget was realizing that there can't be "nothing to eat" when our pantries, freezer, and fridge are half-full. that is a lot of food. no, you can't make a meal out of thin air and bulgar, but if you have bulgar, frozen peas, an onion and a dozen eggs, maybe you can figure something out. maybe. (i can't really come up with that particular recipe, but it's gotta be there.) since i struck out yesterday at the market, and i wasn't sure if bloomingfoods would be open today, dinner took a little thinking. i had a loaf of bread in the works just because cold sundays just lend themselves to baking bread in my world. so. a loaf of bread? a few cans of tomatoes? cheddar cheese? put them all together and you have...tomato soup with grilled cheese. can't beat that! the last of the kale went in the pot before blending. it didn't make a smooth puree, but that wasn't neccessarily the intent. about two cups of fresh kale went in, and what came out was a spicy (a pinch too many of crushed red pepper flake) tomato soup flecked with green. you could have fed this to a greens-phobic child, and he/she would have lapped it up. kale: farmer's market tomatoes, flour, sugar: co-op, organic cheese, yeast: co-op, not organic. organic yeast is over a dollar a package: yikes! waste: foil yeast packet. sustainability: medium now the next problem: there weren't enough leftovers for my loving husband's lunch tomorrow. there's barely enough for mine, but i usually come home for lunch and can supplement as needed. maybe boil up some pasta and send it with the leftover tomato soupy goodness?

Saturday, April 7, 2007

First outdoor market of the season

this was supposed to be a happy occasion, right? the bloomington winter market has treated me right, the last few weeks: kale, spinach, salad greens, cauliflower, and the eggs never seemed to sell out. but the first week of april, things move outside and REALLY start happening, right? nope - not after this lousy cold spell we've been enjoying. i arrived at least an hour and a half before closing, and the place was a ghost town. vendors were loading out, and the action seemed to be wrapped around the bloomingfoods van: HOT coffee and HOT chocolate. lamb, honey, and cheese were around, as well as some storage onions, and some very sad-looking cooking greens (one table). so. i got a dozen eggs and a barack obama bumper sticker. could have been worse - they could have been out of eggs. if you've read the omnivore's dilemna" you know that "spring lamb" isn't really the natural way of things. consider that if the lambs were born in the spring, they wouldn't be ready to eat for several months. so, enjoy some minted eggs for your easter brunch. i can't wait for peas. mmm, peas. for dinner tonight, we're having chili and cornbread. canned tomatoes and beans, milk - organic, bought at local store, but not locally sourced. onion, kale, and eggs: from farmer's market (the kale is from last week) spices and cheese: bought at local store cornbread mix: trader joe's. not organic. plus canola oil, milk, and eggs (organic, all). waste produced: egg shells, 2 cans, cardboard, and paper. no plastic in the packaging for the cornbread mix. way to go, trader joe's! sustainability scale: medium-high.