21 October 2004


last night i came home from work around 10pm (curses upon the night shift!), slightly hungry. starting into the fridge, my eyes scanned across the brussel sprouts that i'd boiled last thursday in attempts to bring them closer to an edible stage. i'd purchased them the weekend before from the farmers market (who can resist a giant stalk with little brussel sprouts running up and down the sides?) and hadn't yet gotten to it. the sprouts were beginning to look a bit limp, so it was a last ditch effort to save 'em. which brings us back to last night and me, hungry staring into the fridge. well why not, i thought. i cut 'em in half (to make sure none had started rotting on the inside--they were all beautiful) and chopped up a bit of red onion. as i was putting the onion back in the fridge, my eye caught the carton of heavy whipping cream, used for last sunday's feast. veggies in cream sauce are good, right? it's a classic french preparation or something. so, having never prepared a cream sauce, i got out the milk and figured i'd give it a whirl, cookbook be damned! i heated up some butter, cooked the onions on their own for a bit and then added the brussel sprouts. i sprinkled on some salt, pepper and garlic powder (the latter being my most shameful weakness but SO much easier than chopping up garlic at 10pm at night) and let everything cook for a while. once the sprouts were nicely browned, i turned down the heat and poured in the milk. a few tablespoons, i'd say. i stirred until the milk reduced a bit, lost my patience and dumped it into a bowl.

thankfully at that moment, adnarim_abroad called. i mentioned what i had just created and she, quite reasonably, suggested that the proper way to make cream sauce usually involves some flour used as a thickener. oh yeah, right. i knew that. this would, as she said, prevent my dish from looking like brussel sprout cereal in milk. so the brussel sprouts went back into the pan; once everything was heated up to a nice temperature, i dumped in a few tablespoons of flour and voila! slightly less runny brussel sprouts in cream sauce. much better! nothing i'd ever serve to someone i was trying to impress, but considerably more edible. hurrah! the whole thing did feel like some kind of farmer meal. the perfect dish if you've grown too many brussel sprouts that season and are also trying to increase your fat intake so you have energy to wake up at 4am.

god, i should become a professional chef with genius creations like this one.

oh, and did i mention that my parents have friends who live in brussels whose last name is sprout? no kidding! i love it!

20 October 2004


last night, two stitch 'n bitchers showed up with a massive box of freshly foraged chanterelle mushrooms. of these mushrooms came mushroom curry with peas and squash stuffed with mushrooms. all delightful and ever-so seasonal! i also got a bag of chanterelles to take home with me. i'm hoping to replicate the curry, although i think i'll find some tasty options in my cookbooks, as well. luckily i've got enough for a few meals. the foragers went out to some woods and came back with thirty pounds of mushrooms! can you believe it?! in a few weeks, Mt. Pisgah, a local arboretum, is hosting a Mushroom Festival and i'm hoping to check it out with my mom, who will be visiting. if we're lucky, we'll have the opportunity to pick our own mushrooms. what fun! and they are so tasty! oh! i think that i'll make a tart with all of my wild mushrooms. oh yeah!

19 October 2004

fall meal

wow. it took a. and i four days to find some culinary motivation, but we sure pulled out all the stops last night. we'd spend thursday through sunday trying really hard to cook dinner and never quite feeling up to it when it came around, due to terrible sniffly colds and probably a bit of laziness. we did, as a result, have a lovely calzone from Pizza Research Institute, a fantastic duck with plum sake sauce at Chef's Kitchen, good hearty grub at Morning Glory, a deepfried pile of fish and potatoes at the fish market and sweets from Sweet Life. no complaints there.

but yesterday, oh!, after michael moore we went back to my place for grilled cheese, apple slices and veggie broth with egg noodles. amazing how comforting this 3rd grade-style meal was. but it paled in comparison to our dinner:

squash ginger apple soup, from The New Vegetarian Epicure
butterleaf lettuce salad with dried cherries, chevre and arugula
apple onion pork chops
pumpkin biscuits

and for dessert

pumpkin cheesecake

and a bottle of wine.

holy smokes! everything was PERFECT! the soup was divine! it was all divine! i wish i had pictures to post. i've been such a lazy non-cooker lately and i was reminded last night that it is SO much better to cook for and with people than alone. yay!

10 October 2004

well, my guest showed up and we had a lovely dinner of cauliflower, potato and chick-pea curry with basmati rice, accompanied by a lovely mesclun greens, carrot and sugar snap pea salad and tasty desserts (a "nutty pecan chewy" and a rasberry bar) from Sweet Life, eugene's extra special and awesome dessert place...almost really really close to being as good as Taste of Heaven.

today for lunch i had the, uh, tortilla casserole that i made yesterday afternoon. oh, but after assembling the monster (tortillas, salsa that i'd made a few weeks ago and was still kickin', broccoli, beans, cheddar cheese, onions) and throwing it in the oven at 350, i completely forgot that it was in there until about two hours later. mind you, i was in the kitchen the entire time, but i was distracted by my little photo project. yeah. i'm smart. since it had only just started to burn, i decided to keep it. heated some up in the toaster and made myself eat it. so much food, you know. shame to waste it. it wasn't too bad, although also not too good. but i promise, ms. a, that i won't make you eat nasty overcooked casserole.

09 October 2004


so, i've just finished preparing a massive vat (that would be approximately 1/2 quart) of cauliflower curry and a smaller quantity of basmati rice for myself and my New Friend, who is supposed to be coming over for dinner before heading out to see Maria Full of Grace. but she's not here yet and i'm all worried that on this, my first night to have company over, i'll be stood up. isn't that sad! well, more curry for me i guess.

i went to the farmers market this morning, with my travel mug of coffee and my canvas bag thrown over my shoulder. i felt very eugene. i got a stalk of brussel sprouts, a potato, an onion and a bag of mesclun greens. then, just after finishing my coffee, i ran into a friend who asked me to coffee. i had a mug of green tea and i'm still all twittery from the caffeine. bzzzzzzzzzz.......... i fear that i won't be able to sit still during the movie, which i can hardly do when i haven't had any caffeine. damn tea! and the sad thing is that i got it thinking that it would be less intense then coffee. ha!

08 October 2004

i am a neglegent blogger and am only updating now because i've mentioned this thing to two people recently and feel obligated to put something up, should they journey here. i still have to post about my trip to chicago and to Green Zebra, the new upscale vegetarian restaurant there. i have the menu buried somewhere in the piles of unpacked, yet not put away materials that i will post eventually.

in the meantime, i just got back from a weekend trip to new york city where i had the most divine indian food at Bombay House, amidst screaming children and pounding top 40 music (including the "It's Getting Hot In Here" song twice in a row! what bliss!). really, the food was absolutely fantastic and puts Priya, eugene's best indian restaurant, to shame. but 2/3 of the restaurant was occupied by a large birthday party that had very non-supervised children running amok. one bumped in to me and for the rest of dinner, i couldn't get out of my head the vision of a young child slamming into me as i put a forkfull of food into my mouth, thus slamming the fork into the back of my throat. ew.

courtney also took me to an ethiopian place by her house. there are no ethiopian restaurants in eugene. probably because there are no ethiopians in eugene. it was a quite, sort of classy new york restaurant, and didn't have the feel of ethiopian diamond, the giant casual restaurant in chicago featuring the one man musical wonder, but it was quite tasty, especially after a long and failed evening trying to depart through laguardia. it's so delightful to see a huge piece of injera piled high with spinach, lentils, potatoes, carrots and cabbage coming my way. and we followed this with a late night glass of wine and split panna cotta at a lovely wine bar down the street. god i love new york.

other restaurants hit while in the city: Pink Teacup, a soul food restaurant in the (west?) village that featured the most phallic pork sausage i've ever laid eyes on. i had to cut it into slices rather than leaving it on my plate and these things tend not to phase me.

but now i'm back in eugene. i had the pleasure of dining at locomotive last night, eugene's best about-to-close vegetarian restaurant. it was eugene best vegetarian restaurant before it became about-to-close. my entree last night, though, was not the best i've had there. two poached eggs swimming in (as the server told us the recipe calls for) a "butt-load" of garlic and "two butt-loads" of tomatoes. whew. i'm safe from vampires for a good while. the peach plum cobbler with plum ice cream, however, was wonderful and i was happy that both emily and jane preferred the chocolate cake, since i pretty much had the cobbler to myself. i love to share, but i prefer to share when the other person loses interest in the shared item.