All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast. ~John Gunther

Friday, October 31, 2008

big piles of food

I'm in Brooklyn this week for work and last night I went out to dinner with some New York-dwelling friends. because we were in a hurry to catch Eric's show, Riz and Johann suggested a quick place near their apartment. it was definitely quick, but what perhaps would have been more informative was that Mama's Food Shop is a monster of food. Heather and I decided to split a plate of three sides. this is how much food we were served:

those are three sides, folks. not main dishes. sides. it was just a massive amount of food. that plate cost about $10, which was totally fine for two people and the fact that Heather and I needed Eric's help later on to finish it. the brussel sprouts were rad, the beets were tasty. it's not the most flavorful food in the world, but it was fast and enormous and pretty convenient. there are plenty of options for both veggies and meat eaters. I don't know if I would suggest this for a tourist, but this would be a rockin' place to have in your neighborhood.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

blog of the month(s)

there was no blog of the month for october. so this blog will have to take on the mighty responsibility of being two blogs in one.

Mad Tasty:
I met dave at a judith butler reading. he was smart, funny, and had a cute adopted accent to boot. now he has a food blog that features a crazy variety of contributers and recipes. one recent post suggests that you shouldn't feel bad about not making your own tomato sauce because it's a tribute to the life and work of the late paul newman. that's the kind of logic I appreciate. also, one blogger invented tetris brownies. I don't think words are appropriate to describe that kind of awesomeness.

I wish judith butler had a cooking blog. that would be so cool. the recipes would be indecipherable, but I don't think it would matter.

dinner party in your future

last night I cooked up a monster dinner for some nice folks in honor of my birthday. recipes and pictures are on the way. so is the amazing adventures with apple pie that gina marie and I experienced this weekend. these posts may take a little while to go up, because I'm back to crazy traveling on thursday, but I'll do my best to spread the joy as quickly as possible.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Greens, Beans, and Flax

last night, sarah elisabeth and I made a 3 part dinner of farmshare goodness. we'll post each dish separately, beginning with the portion on the left: greens, beans, and flax.

this was designed to use up old kale and add some protein to the dinner.

you need:
  • some kale
  • some cabbage
  • an onion
  • some cannelloni beans
  • toasted sesame oil
  • a healthy handful of flax seeds
  • salt to taste

you do:

I feel a little silly writing directions because this was pretty much a seat-of-the-pants dish. but anyway. chop up the kale and cabbage into bite size pieces. dice yourself an onion. heat up the toasted sesame oil in the sauce pan and saute the onion. add the kale and cabbage and then add more toasted sesame oil. add salt. add the cannelloni beans. add the flax seeds. turn the heat down and just stir and let it cook in its own mess for a bit so that the beans heat up and also the flavors soak in. and then you serve it.

see? not really complicated. but it tasted really good.

mashed potatoes & turnips

dealing with an overflow of vegetables from the farm share (in a good way!), sarah emily and I endeavored to make a dent in the situation last night. My favorite thing pretty much ever is mashed potatoes, so I went down that route, and attempted to deal with the turnips as well, even though I am not such an experienced turnip-person. sarah emily was more adventurous and made a yummy roasted root vegetables with apple situation *and* a cabbage, kale 'n' beans extravaganza (flax seeds and sesame oil!) Hopefully she'll post soon and you'll get the low down on all that. in the meantime, I will work with the pictures that I have...

I consulted, of course, America's Test Kitchen since they are basically my food bible. Apparently half and half and boiling your potatoes unpeeled and adding butter *before* other dairy is very important. Who knew?

ATK calls for 1lb potatoes and 1lb other root vegetables. I just used all the yellow turnips and all the potatoes we had - it was half and halfish. Another thing I learned - yellow turnips are white. white turnips are purple! (and apparently white turnips - which are purple - are not that great in mashed situations, so that's why I just used yellow even though we had some pretty white/purple ones too.)

I peeled the turnips and quartered them. I rinsed the potatoes. I put the potatoes in a large pot of boiling water and let them cook for 15 minutes - then I added the quartered turnips and boiled it all for another 15 minutes. - next time I would boil the turnips a little longer - maybe add them in at the 10 minute mark and then cook with the potatoes for 20 minutes?

I turned the heat off and scooped all the turnips out with a slotted spoon into a bowl. then I scooped out the potatoes into a different bowl, dumped the water, and had sarah emily get the grit out of the pot while I started the long process of peeling the hot potatoes. Yeah. No kidding.

you stab it with a dinner fork, hold it in the air, and then use a paring knife to scrape/peel off the skin. this took awhile, but ATK assured me that it would taste *much* better because of this step


peeled potatoes and turnips went into the still-warm pot (should have been hot - but beggars can't be choosers!) Sarah emily melted a stick of butter for me, and once I had mashed the veggies pretty well with my potato masher, I mashed the butter in. Then sarah emily warmed up 1/2 cup of half and half, and I tossed that into the pot too, mashing some more. (apparently the fat in the butter coats the starch and keeps it from getting watery with the half and half? there is some chemistry here I am not entirely clear on.)

voila! a *touch* of salt, and they were done! We served with sarah emily's dishes and some gourmet butter - a present from chloe!

this picture is kind of blurry - but use your imagination!

an apology to the masses

we've been kind of terrible about posting lately. sarah elisabeth has been crazy busy and I've been crazy busy in a different way and gina marie is...busy too? anyway, we have been cooking but there hasn't been the time to post. we're getting back on track now, which mostly involves me getting pictures off of my phone and onto the interwebs. thank you to the folks who have put up with our silence; I'm certain that the void in your life was incredibly difficult to bear and we here at leisurely breakfast respect and appreciate your strength. you are all patriots to us.

Monday, October 13, 2008

apple crisp

I made apple crisp the other day and I forgot to post. That one is pictured above...

Last night I made it again, with some changes. What I learned: change is bad.

Both times I made this I was working with some ingredient constraints. I wanted to use my America's Test Kitchen Classics cookbook recipe (it's the Cook's Illustrated recipe), but it called for six tablespoons of flour, and we had a whopping two! I made do with oatmeal, and it worked well. Here's the recipe I ended up using successfully:

Topping :

2 tablespoons flour
5 tablespoons rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar , packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon table salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into little pieces
3/4 cup slivered almonds, chopped


6 or 7 apples
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest from 1 lemon

to make the topping... I mixed all the dry ingredients together with a wooden spoon. Since I don't have a food processor, I did my best to beat and mash the butter, which I had cut into little pieces, into the sugary mix. Then I did my best to mush the almonds in too. It was super lumpy, but that seems to not be a problem. I put it in the fridge, and got on with the filling.

for the filling ... peeled and chopped the apple into 1 inchish pieces, dumped it into the dutch oven I ended up cooking the crisp in, mixed in the sugar, zested the lemon, and then squirted in the juice. I stirred that around, flattened it out, and then spread the topping out over it. I popped it (uncovered, lower middle rack) into a preheated 375 degree oven for 40 minutes, and then pumped it up to 400 degrees for a final five minutes. came out amazing!

Here's what not to do if you are out of lemons: substitute lime juice and grapefruit zest. It tastes.... lime-y. not quite right. edible, but just a little weird.

It looked yummy though! (and was totally edible - just a little citrusy and not a great match for ice cream!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I wrote this in August, and I have been waiting for the pictures. Of course, there are 100 pictures, so you will have to go look at them here! You will get to see pictures of the farm, the farmer, the farm tour, the beautiful jewelery and glasswork at the farm, and then our trip to Northampton on the way home.

And now, the post I wrote:

Stone Soup Farm is having their chilifest for CSA members today, and so we had to make some chili. I woke up with the vague idea that I should only use things we had in the house - farm share vegetables and random beans, basically.

I used a heavily modified version of this recipe:


Chopped two onions (one was huge)
seeded and minced one hot pepper (from the farm share!)(gina marie dealt with this, it required emergency wheat thins)
chopped two green peppers (from the farmshare!)
chopped three little carrots (from the farmshare! - it turns out we also had a very big yellow carrot, but I thought it was a parsnip so we missed out on that.)
minced a lot of garlic (from the farmshare, gina and sarah joint effort)

All of those things went into the pot with a little olive oil and simmered for about 5 minutes.

then I added a can of old bud light.

*then* I added three farmshare tomatoes that I had chopped, and a can of diced tomatoes from stop and shop

Then I added two cans of kidney beans and a can of canellini beans

also, we added some corn from the farmshare - roommate emily dealt with this.

this is all stirring and cooking the whole time

finally I added 1 tablespoon of cumin, 1 tablespoon of chili powder, and 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika (my favorite spice)

finally, a can of refried beans stirred in to thicken things up. Then I let it bubble for 15 minutes.

Finally, lid on and into the insulated bag to head out to western mass!

pictures are coming...