Monday, September 15, 2014

My Late-Summer Narnia Moment

As I was paying the bills this morning, some movement outside caught my attention and I was grateful to have a couple of minutes to watch this young lady. She was a pretty large animal, actually. I grabbed the camera and began snapping away, albeit badly since I was rushing through it. I knew my magical moments with her were numbered. Right away she heard the shutter of the lens and looked right at me for a couple of minutes:

This photo does not do the connection justice. With my shaky, nervous photography, I didn't catch the intensity of her gaze. She seriously stared right into my eyes through the window for a couple of minutes. I put down the camera and met her gaze. She wasn't angry or frightened. She was curious. After a while, she remembered her little one:

Regretfully, I got no good photos of the little dappled baby. Everything moved very quickly from the time he or she entered the scene. I snapped away, but my camera preferred to focus upon the dirt on the outside of the window instead of the magical garden wonderland.

Still, it was a lovely way to start the day.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Raw Tabouli

This isn't my recipe. Since I love this minted parsnip tabouli so much, I figured I'm better off not reinventing the wheel. This recipe is from Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Kitchen. She and chef Chuck Sarno created this innovative salad with raw parsnips in the place of couscous. The parsnips are simply pulsed, dry, in a food processor along with garlic and then the other hand-chopped ingredients are stirred in. This no-carb tabouli is bright and delicious in flavor and, in Kris' words, "light as a feather". Since I am a never-enough-kale kind of gal, I served the tabouli atop a pile of it. Delicious!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

End of Season Harvest

The kids have been in school for three weeks already in the deep south, so the gardening season should be just about over, but I still have mostly green tomatoes, and plenty of other things sprouting anew all the time. Our weather has been hellish and soggy, like a jungle, and we all know plants love that.

So here's a recent harvest. Represented are dino kale, rainbow chard, basil, tarragon, Chinese longbeans, tomatoes and my surprise guest: purple cabbage -- that's it toward the bottom: silvery green leaves with purple veins.

The cabbage was a surprise because, well, sometimes my crisper is overly full to the point I lose track of things. About half a purple cabbage was in full-rot (thankfully in a plastic bag) by the time I found it. The rot was nasty, but a brand new plant had sprouted from the slime -- sort of like a cruciferous phoenix! I had a blank spot in the garden so I quickly buried the cabbage-Fawkes to see what would happen. I couldn't be more pleased -- the fresh young cabbage leaves are tender and flavorful.

I utilized my bounty with a delicious, gluten-free Quinoa-pasta salad:

I roasted the sturdier veggies before adding them to the mix. This salad fit the bill for the first college football party of the season. My son's school, University of Georgia, is off to a fantastic start!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Pho Fixin's

Have you enjoyed a fresh, steamy bowl of pho? This Thai soup has become a favorite of ours recently as we tend to enjoy "pajama days" on Sundays, or in this case, Labor Day Monday. Delivery meals are perfect for pajama days, but pizza doesn't cross our threshold very much anymore, and Asian restaurants tend to come and go around here for some reason. We have been enjoying a particular local restaurant's pho because the flyer boasts, "We deliver!" Well, as it turns out, not so much. I think the delivery guys don't show up on a regular basis. After a few weekends spent in the car driving to pick up our meal instead of in pajamas, I began to realize I always have some version of the ingredients for this treat here anyway, at least during garden season. Indeed, even the restaurant varies the ingredients based upon what's on hand.  Yes, there's a little prep work, but when you consider the time it takes to shower, dress and drive to and from the restaurant, I believe my pajama-version is more expedient, not to mention more economical and fresh!

In the pantry, I already had rice noodles and organic broth, which I brightened with some fresh lemon and a little tamari. From the crisper I pulled more lemons, spring and white onions and garlic (I toasted the garlic in a little coconut oil). From the garden I got my herbs (no shame in gardening in p.j.'s): purple basil, Italian Parsley and dill. I also found a nice jalapeno pepper in my garden today! Homegrown jalapano bonus: while just as flavorful and spicy as storebought, my homegrowns are slightly milder and are less painful and blinding when I inevitably put my finger in my eye sometime after prepping them. I'm always surprised at how the capzacin of the peppers lasts through several hand-washings. Still -- the homegrown is better!

We each choose our toppings/ingredients. I like a little of everything, topped with a squirt of sriracha. I always have plenty of leftovers which I store separately to retain freshness, but they don't last long.

Since my homegrown vegetables were sunk costs long ago, I'm not even going to count their cost, this late in the season. The rest of my cost today to feed 3 of us breaks down as follows, to the best of my recollection:

  • Noodles: $2.50
  • Organic Broth: $3.00
  • Organic Lemons: $1.50 (I buy them in bulk)
  • White onion: $.20 (I only used half an onion)
  • Spring onions $.50
  • Garlic: $.20
-- for a roughly out-of-pocket $8.00 cost vs. $30.00 at the restaurant. We all enjoyed the homegrown takeout!