september round up
Oh hey guys!
Long time no see. Or rather, long time no ramble at. I'm sure you've all missed me terribly! Well now I'm here at last with an awfully late September Round Up. This one is exceptionally tardy due to the fact that I was gone for a little over a week, exploring and enjoying Southern California with my boo. I thought about taking my laptop along so I could get some work in on this here blog, but decided to leave it home so I would have more space for mini skirts and sundresses! I'm sure you all understand. Anywho, lets get to the food!
Steak, steak, and more #steak.
The first three pics in September's Top Nine are all (yep you guessed it) STEAK. Did I eat a lot more steak than usual this month? Maybe. I will say that it was the first full month that I was fully able to chew anything and everything (well at least everything that one could normally expect to chew) after this summer's epic dental probz. So maybe I did go a little steak and salad crazy (these things require some chewing, folks). Or maybe people just really love pictures of steak because it's like a visceral caveman type thing (me want MEAT), so they wound up at the top, popularity-wise. Who can say for sure why. All we know is it happened and here we are.
I threw together a quick marinade for this piece of flank steak, but I used waaaay too much soy sauce. The marinade was crazy salty. So I kept adding more and more oil, lime juice etc. Finally I got fed up and was just like UUUGGGHH whatever I'm just gonna throw this steak in there for like an hour and see what happens. Even though I was not at all happy with the taste of the marinade, the steak came out AMAZING. It was not at all too salty, and it had a scrumptious, deeply umami flavor. Yay.
This next steak, also with a salad, was a delicious ad simply prepared ribeye. I had an abundance of parsley from my CSA, so I made the parsley salsa verde from Gjelina cookbook- except I was super lazy and threw everything into my blender instead of carefully mincing everything and mixing it together. Not the classiest way to make one's sauce, but hey it worked! The sauce turned out fabulously, plus I mean yeah it was much faster and easier, so...... I stand by my laziness. I was concerned that the leftover sauce would turn brown and get weird but it actually lasted beautifully and brilliantly green in a jar in the refrigerator for a few days.
More steak, showing off JUST how raw I like it... plus more blender salsa verde, plus avo because for one duh it's avo do I even need to explain?? And for two, a bag of them had magically appeared on my doorstep (more on that later). This concludes our steak tour of September 2016. On to other things.
These blueberries appeared magically on my doorstep, just like the avo mentioned above. Ok, let me back up. I live in a little cottage tucked into a magical bamboo forest on a hillside in the City of Seattle. The kindly wizard who owns the cottages, planted the bamboo, and I can only assume cast a series of enchantments upon the whole forest, sometimes likes to leave gifts for the residents of his cottages. Lately it has been produce, like bags of avocados or boxes of berries. All part of the magic of the bamboo forest.
A glorious roast! Cooked by my fabulous Mama, in her beautiful home, on a night full of family, food, music, tears (but the good kind), and LOTS of laughter! My cousin and his husband were in town, a perfect excuse to get the whole local crew together. Ahh. Good times.
As I may have mentioned in the past, I am a cookbook addict. My shelves runneth over, and many do not get the attention they deserve. This month I spent some time leafing through this bad boy, by acclaimed local chef Renee Erickson. I eventually ended up making the pickled plum jam recipe, which was superb- one of those recipes that is at the same time familiar and brand new; an exciting twist on traditional jam. The (INSANELY GORGEOUS!) photos in the book were taken by Jim Henkens, a super talented local photographer. I was lucky enough to take his food photography workshop last February, where I learned lots and came away wildly inspired. The grapes were from the fruit share I get with my CSA, and they were delicious. That is all.
Tacos tacos tacos!
Someone recently asked me: "What's your favorite thing to cook?" I never know how to answer this question. It just feels too vague, or too open ended or in a way too meaningless. I don't really know what that question even means, or more specifically, what is the purpose of asking/answering it? Am I supposed to say "souffle" to sound fancy? I'm sorry but souffle is NO ONE'S favorite thing to cook. But instead of saying any of that, I said "Tacos." The asker of the question proceeded to stare at me blankly. As if "tacos" was not a legitimate answer. Truthfully, I don't know if I have a "favorite food to cook," (wtf does that even mean????? give me your opinion in the comments, srsly) but I do know that I cook and eat tacos a lot, and when I'm at a loss for what to cook I turn to tacos, or if I have random ingredients, or leftovers, or kale, or, or, or.... I like tacos, ok?! Deal with it. #tacos
Carrot Cake Smoothie
One of the ways I've dealt with CSA abundance (aka veggie overload) this season is to juice the carrots. Carrots last for some time, and thus they aren't a high priority (USE THE BABY LETTUCE BEFORE IT TURNS!!!!!), and thus they tend to reeaalllllly pile up. So, I juiced a mess of em, and used the juice to make this fabulous carrot cake smoothie. Yumm.
CSA potatoes, CSA chard, CSA yum, CSA love. This recipe was inspired by a recipe I saw on pinterest. I then simplified the recipe significantly and the results were easy, healthy, quick, delicious, and... do I need a fifth thing?? Organic. I try new recipes a lot, mostly from cookbooks, and lately I've been thinking about how these recipes differ from how I cook when I'm just improvising in the kitchen, using what I have on hand to make food happen (often QUICKLY cuz I'm hungry and half the time it's like 3am). The biggest difference is that many written recipes have a lot of steps that use multiple bowls, pots, pans, etc. A lot of these can be streamlined significantly, in my opinion. Doing so makes me soooo much more likely to make the recipe again. There are different reasons why recipes are written to be a bit on the complicated side- one is the practical differences between home cooking and restaurant cooking. If you are a professional chef, certain things are ingrained, such as prepping a lot ahead of time, blanching veg before sauteing, that kind of thing. That makes sense in a restaurant kitchen, but not necessarily at home. Truly translating your recipes for a home kitchen takes a lot of thought and a deep understanding of the home cook's reality. I'm starting to realize that my style of food and cooking is easy as much as it is delicious. Maybe I can be a little lazy in the kitchen... BUT I truly think good, fresh, delicious, healthy food should be accessible even if you are short on time, patience, and willingness to wash 5 pots afterwards. So that is a little bit of a rambling rant, I know, but it's the sort of thing I've been thinking about, especially as I begin to branch out and write my own recipes a bit more.
So there ya have it. A little bit about what I was cooking and munching on in September. Would love to hear any thoughts you might have in the comments! Back soon with more food.