wisconsin goodies

our friend leslie came to visit last weekend, and she brought us some delicious goodies from her home in viroqua, wisconsin: homemade ramp pesto and new glarus beer. since lately all i seem to be good for is taking pictures of food, it seemed appropriate to honor her gift with an homage to the culinary delicacies of wisconsin.

a few days ago i had made some ricotta cheese with another friend (blog post to come, don’t worry!) and added it to the pasta we made with leslie’s pesto. it. was. delicious.

and perhaps brian’s favorite part of the meal, leslie also gave usĀ new glarus honey bock, which apparently you can’t buy in minnesota (and only buy in wisconsin?). delicacies indeed! thank you, leslie!!


six reasons i love mexico

#1. it’s old and filled with churches.

#2. it’s beautiful.

#3. In Mexico, you get to eat hot dogs for breakfast.


#5. The most obvious reason: Mexican Food. Even in spite of Monteczuma. (I would do it ALL OVER AGAIN!)
#5b. Mexican food, including chapulines (a.k.a. grasshoppers!)
#6. Mexico loves hosting Best Friend Reunions.

Elephantine tusks, tinny olives, and memories of good friends

Well, despite all the formality of yesterday’s post — in which I professed to keep to the many goals I laid out for myself — today I am sick.

So. I was going to run, and brag effusively about how wonderful I am to have already begun my exceedingly difficult regimen of thrice-weekly exercise.

But. Twas not to be.

So, instead I took pictures of my simple little pasta dinner. Which, by the way, I cooked the entire time with toilet paper stuffed up my nose. I have one of those ridiculous colds where you don’t actually FEEL sick–that, except for the sore throat and runny nose, I feel quite normal.

Anyway. Tonight’s dinner was really fun to make (despite the elephantine-like tusks protruding from my nostrils) because it reminded me of friends. You know those meals that just have a little love packed in them? This was like that, except it was a surprise because I’ve never made it before.

It was a Fried Tofu, Olive, and Red Pepper Pasta. The tofu reminded me of Tallu, the first person to ever serve me tofu AND have me successfully finish my meal. This is mostly because I wanted her to like me and we were just becoming friends. She steamed the tofu and made this delicious gingery, vinegar-y sauce to drizzle atop it. Tallu is one of the most accomplished cooks I know, and only her skills could have convinced me that — whoa, there — I actually like tofu.

This recipe itself is from a cookbook that Kate gave me, and has been dogeared in our household now for a few years. It still has the note she tucked in the front cover, with the pages of her favorite recipes indicated (whole wheat pancakes, portobello mushroom sandwiches…). This is one of the few recipes left to try, and I’m sorry I waited this long!

The few things I would change? To save a few bucks, I bought cheap parmesan cheese and canned olives. The cheese was mildly passable (though I much prefer fresh), but the olives were awful, tinny, tasteless creatures. Never again.

Also, the basil at Cub last weekend was moldy and I didn’t buy any. So, I didn’t have any, which the recipe called for. Still, in spite all these failings, it was mighty tasty.

Now: more tea and bedtime for me. Tomorrow if I’m not sick, I will report back on my awesome run!

Oh day of laziness and lists

Ok, I have to admit, I am completely uncertain about this whole Post Every Day thing. I think it might be a bad idea, largely because right now, I’m like, dude. The last thing I want to do is talk to the whole world. Sorry folks, it’s not that you’re not nice… it’s just that for reals, I’d rather settle in with my soup and my bf and my cat and wonder when those two kids Ross and Rachel are finally going to get together.

I mean, come on, if that video doesn’t make you want to be a couch potato, what does??

But ok. I’ve made a commitment. And if there’s one thing I’ve been digging about 2010, it’s been setting goals for myself and actually kind of meeting them–partly because of this ole’ blog right here. back on january 4, I made four resolutions: to be less crabby about housework, to get to bed earlier, to eat all the veggies in the martha stewart cookbook that i own, and to run a 10k.

So, I think I’m a little better at the housework (in particular, dishes) thing–not perfect, but I’d say I’ve improved, and am at least doing dishes with some more regularity and some less fury. What I’ve most succeeded at is getting to bed earlier, on most weeknights before midnight. And, although I’m not making a concerted effort to explicitly eat the vegetables that Martha says I should, I’ve been doing a better job of creating a healthy menu for the week, cooking most nights, and having the leftovers for lunch the next day (this is also related to my scheme of saving more money. also good.).

With that said, as long as I’m doing this whole self-improvement thing, and as long as I’m making myself blog every day, I may as well make some more goals out of it. So, here they are:

  1. Exercise three times a week, and I will report said exercise here. (Fear! Trembling! Future fury with myself will ensue!)
  2. Once each weekend, I will cook something fancy and write about it here. (Like the stuffed cabbage of yesterday’s lore).
  3. FINALLY finish putting things up on our apartment walls (take pictures, and post them)
  4. Finish the messenger bag I was going to sew for B at the onset of medical school (now six months ago and counting), and
  5. Forgive myself when I do not complete all of these goals. (Shoot for the moon and land in the stars, right? Right-o).

Sigh. It will be fun to hold myself accountable to ALL THAT. That is like my Dream Al, right there. But, I will hold myself accountable to each and every one of you who actually (really?) read this blog, because hey, if you check in here, you deserve my honesty. And my love. And devotion.

Also, because it’s fun, a list of two links:

  1. My adorable cousin Maren wrote about me (sort of) on her blog. If you click through, you’ll get to see a thoroughly embarrassing picture of me in the prime of childhood.
  2. I’m now a published theologian. Please don’t hate me.

Until tomorrow–and let’s hope I run or something.

stuffed cabbage, a.k.a. alien babies a la alison

for months, my colleague/friend rachel has been telling me about how fabulous the moosewood cookbook is. last night, i finally got around to cooking something from it.

i made stuffed cabbage. sounds a little weird, but we’ve had an extra head of cabbage rolling around our fridge for longer than i’m willing to divulge here, so i figured it was worth a shot. the recipe is actually in the link to the googlebook above, so i’m not going to mess with spelling it out here… you just get the pictures and my sparse commentary.

Cooking with cabbage was a very unique experience. My not-so-extensive cabbage background includes slaws and soups, so to core it, boil it, peel it apart, and use the leaves to hold all the stuffing ingredients was completely alien to me. Funny enough, the cabbage itself actually took on something of an incandescent, ghostly, and alien quality of itself, as well.

Here, I thought the cabbage leaves looked lacy, skin-like, and very eerie. I don’t know what to make of this picture… totally not appetizing. But how could I not include it here?! You must be prepared what you’re up against. Alien Skin, that’s what.

Once the cabbage is cored and boiling, you begin to sautee the onion, celery, garlic, and carrots in butter. Later, I added salt, pepper, and sunflower seeds.

Once all that jazz is sauteed up, you add a chopped tart apple, a pound of ricotta cheese, lemon, tamari, and some other stuff… I forget what it was now…

Then you take the ricotta-based stuffing and roll it up into the cabbage. Here, I thought the cabbage-rolls looked like little baby aliens–see, the stems are like spines! Again–NOT appetizing to look at, but I promise, it is delicious (plus later, it gets prettier). Spread some cashew-ginger sauce (in my case, almond-ginger) on top and stick it in the oven for a half an hour.

And viola! This dish was by far one of the most surprising, delightful meal I’ve made in a long time. It is tart, creamy, and sweet all at once. Next time I’d pare down on the ricotta–I don’t think the stuffing needs to be *that* creamy–but if you make this, DON’T LEAVE OUT THE SAUCE. It’s too good to leave out.
Now go make your own alien babies!