Run, Cook, Eat!

Farmer’s Market, 8/24/09, etc.
August 24, 2009, 1:13 pm
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This week’s farmer’s market trip was the BEST I’ve had in awhile. I’ve been missing my regular trips due to a mix of weekends out of town, long runs, and other life things. But just in time for tomato season, I’M BACK.

V and I planned this weekend’s long run to do part of the Nike Women’s Half Marathon route in reverse, ending at the Ferry Building. Our 10 mile route had a lot of hills, but we started early enough and the outer half of the city was wonderfully cold and foggy. We made it to the farmer’s market just before noon to meet a few friends.

This week’s purchases:

  • 4 lbs of dry-farmed early girl tomatoes from Dirty Girl Farms – This means summer is here! These are the most amazing tomatoes in the world, even better than heirlooms. Due to lack of (or limited?) watering, they’re smaller and less watery, therefore incredibly intense in taste. These make my life have meaning. The arrival of these tomatoes is my favorite part of the summer.
  • Burrata – Ms. T and I bought this lovely creamy heavenly mozzarella & cream creation, with plans of making bruschetta with the dry-farmed early girls. Possibly my favorite food in the world.
  • 1 French heirloom melon – This guy was just the right size for me to cut up and eat in two sittings. It tasted like cantaloupe.
  • Acme herb slab bread
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts – The farmer said it was the first week for these. I haven’t cooked them yet, but they look nice and tiny and firm.
  • Beets – Ms. T and I have never cooked beets before, so we’re going to give it a try on Thursday!
  • Blue Lake green beans – These plus some tomatoes and leftover peppers became a pasta salad for Sunday’s water park adventures.

In other news, my running schedule has ramped up in advance of the half marathon in October, and I’m debating writing about it more in this blog. We’ll see how it turns out, but I’ve been reading lots of running blogs lately to keep my enthusiasm up. Hence thinking writing about it may help as well! Plus the purchase of a scale (ugh) and trying to juggle my calorie intake makes me feel like my running and eating are getting more and more connected.

On that note, I had a great 11 mile run earlier last week, at a personal best pace for a long run – averaging 9:54 min/mi. My IT band has been hurting since Saturday’s hilly run, but I’m going to see how tomorrow’s tempo run goes and then decide how to proceed. J’s out of town for lots of weeks, so I’m hoping to feel good enough to focus on my running (side note – and baking!) in the immediate future.


Farm Fresh to You CSA Box – Week of 7/28/09
August 20, 2009, 12:06 am
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Not much to say about last week’s CSA box. Due to various travels, we didn’t use as much of it as I would have liked. So it goes.

  • 2 lbs heirloom tomatoes – Primarily used in salads.
  • 1 Galla melon – This spoiled before I got a chance to cut it open.
  • 1 lb grapes – Good. I ate them. Nothing fancy.
  • 1 eggplant – Lord, this was the biggest eggplant I’ve ever seen. It was about twice the size of your average grocery store globe eggplant. I wanted to use this up before I left on my trip, so I threw it on the stove, planning to do Mark Bittman’s Dry Pan Eggplant recipe and then make baba ganoush when I got back. According to the recipe, it’s supposed to take 20-30 min. 50 min later, it wasn’t finished so I stuck it in the fridge half cooked. Upon returning two days later, I resumed the dry pan eggplant to no avail, then gave up and threw it in the oven until it was suitably cooked. I made baba ganoush with it this morning, and it was delicious. I’ll post the recipe soon.
  • 1 lb summer squash – Still in the fridge.
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce – I brought this (plus the tomatoes and peppers) into work and made a big salad for lunch for everyone.
  • 1/2 lb peppers – Salad.

Anyway, not much to report. I’m halfway through Baked’s recipe for Sweet and Salty cake – the cake is cooling as we speak. I’ll report back tomorrow once it is complete. Also planned in the near future – early girl tomatoes from Dirty Girl Produce, and a big batch of gazpacho. Yay tomato season!

Homemade Granola Recipe
August 10, 2009, 7:09 pm
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As previously mentioned, I have recently acquired a LARGE quantity of cookbooks. My first foray into cooking anything from them was the homemade granola recipe from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. I chose this largely because it was the simplest and most practical thing from the pile of books. Granola = good for breakfast. Huge layer cake? Awesome, but not so easy to bring for lunch at work.

It sounds silly, but I never realized how simple it is to make granola until I read this recipe. Really, it boils down to combining oats, sweeteners, and oil, baking it, adding nuts, bake some more, and adding dried fruit. Really? That’s actually quicker than going to the awesome bakery down the street to buy granola.

I adapted the recipe somewhat to fit the dried fruit and nuts that I had on hand. I wasn’t able to find golden raisins at multiple grocery stores, including Whole Foods. Perhaps this is a regional thing?

Easy Homemade Granola
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole almonds
1/3 cup cashews (I used cashews instead of hazelnuts since they were in the pantry.)
1/3 cup cranberries (I used cranberries instead of golden raisins, since I couldn’t find golden raisins and I think regular raisins are icky.)
1/3 cup dried cherries

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet with butter. (The recipe called for parchment paper, which I was out of. The butter worked well, and added a nice dessert-y pastrylike taste to the granola.)

In a large bowl, toss the oats with the cinnamon and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla until completely combined.

Pour the sugar/honey/etc mixture over the oats mixture and use your hands to combine them. Smoosh in your fists to make small clusters, but make sure you end up with a variety of these clumps and smaller clumps. Repeat until all of the oats are coated.

Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet. Spread it out evenly, leaving some clumps for variety in texture. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove, stir gently, and add almonds. Put it back into the oven.

Bake for 10 more minutes, then remove and stir again. Add cashews. Put it back into the oven one more time.

Bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. After cooled, add dried fruits and place in an airtight container. It will keep for about 1 week.

Verdict: This recipe was a definite keeper. I will certainly make this again, especially after realizing how much cheaper this is than buying granola elsewhere!

Farm Fresh to You CSA Box – Week of 7/28/09
August 2, 2009, 10:03 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

This week’s CSA box was fairly simple and good. Only a few little squashes were spoiled. Not much more to comment about, so here’s the list:

  • 2 lb heirloom tomatoes – We’re finally reaching tomato season! These were pretty decent. I’m still waiting for the dry-farmed early girl tomatoes to show up at Dirty Girl at the farmer’s market. Nothing beats those.
  • 2 Red Star Krimson Pears – These were the highlight of this week’s produce box. They’re fairly average pears, with a bit of a floral taste. But they look a bit funny – Much of their stem is actual pear flesh, so they look like they’ve got little bird-shaped heads peering out of them.
  • 1 Honeydew – It’s big. Smells ripe. I should cut this up soon.
  • 1 lb summer squash – Some of this went onto pizza with goat cheese, basil and a few of those heirloom tomatoes. The pizza tasted good, but making the pizza itself was a huge disaster. I don’t really want to talk about that right now.
  • 1 bunch basil – The thought was nice, but it wilted beyond recognition before we could use it.
  • 1 lb Yellow Onions – Small. Good.
  • 1/2 lb Gypsy Peppers – I’ve been eating these plain.
  • 1/2 lb Lemon Cucumbers

More cookbooks!

My incredibly thoughtful friends and family gave me all sorts of great food-related gifts for my birthday, not the least being 7 different amazing cookbooks from J.

Vegan Soul Food, which I mentioned last week, was just the first of many books to show up in the mail over the course of two weeks. There’s definitely a baking/sweets bent to J’s selections, with a hint of vegan. Here’s what I’ll be exploring the next few months:

  • Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito – I hadn’t heard of their popular Red Hook bakery until this book showed up, but I’ll definitely be making a point to stop by next time I’m in New York. It’s a nice selection of recipes, with many taking new approach on classic American favorites (ie Root Beer Bundt Cake). I’ve already tried their granola recipe (post forthcoming), and I’m looking forward to trying the Sweet and Salty Cake, the brownies, and lots more. The photography and graphic design in this book is stunning.
  • Babycakes by Erin McKenna – I accidentally discovered Babycakes – an impressive vegan and gluten free bakery in New York – two years ago while wandering in New York with the guy I was dating at the time. The cute storefront pulled me in, and soon I figured out that the boyfriend had NEVER HAD A CUPCAKE. (His excuse was he was not from the USA.) That was soon remedied. Anyway, aside from the pleasant memories associated with the shop, the cookbook looks good. Some extra work is needed to procure special veganlicious ingredients before I can bake much from this, though.
  • Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin by Kenny Shopsin and Carolynn Carreno – Rounding out the New York cookbook portion of the gifts is this clever memoir/cookbook from Kenny Shopsin. Their menu looks like a Dr. Bonner’s label (hundreds of items in tiny type), you have to follow their rules a la Soup Nazi, and the food is quirky and delicious. First up to attempt to replicate – macaroni and cheese pancakes. Other items to try – slutty cakes, ho cakes.
  • Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz – Ok, I lied, this gets New York points too. But she doesn’t have a restaurant, sadly. Anyway – Ms. Moskowitz is half of the team responsible for Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, the cookbook that convinced me of the amazing potential contained in vegan baked goods. Yum yum yum.
  • The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz – My ice cream maker has not been used enough this season. And David Lebovitz is one of my favorite bloggers. So this cookbook is a much-needed acquisition. There’s all sorts of stuff in here that fits my odd-flavor-tendencies, such as Roquefort and Honey ice cream. Yufei recommends the saffron ice cream recipe.
  • Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan – Finally, a baking bible has entered my collection. As the summer fruit season hit full-swing, I realized I don’t have a go-to book for pies, crisps, cobblers, and other baked goods. So this is great to receive! I haven’t flipped through much yet (it’s BIG!) but it will be handy, no doubt.