16 September 2016
A few weeks ago I noticed this plaque on a bench at Olson Park in Ann Arbor. I had vague memories of at least 1 person with an Ann Arbor connection who died in the World Trade Center attacks, so I took a picture to prompt me to look it up, but forgot when back at home.
This week I saw a flower next to the bench. I moved it to the top so it would be more prominent, so others would also notice.
Today I looked her up. Darya Lin grew up in Iran to a Persian mother and Burmese father and moved to Ann Arbor when she was 11. She was 32 years old when she died in the World Trade Center. Darya was a senior manager with Keane Consulting Group; she stayed on the 78th floor to help a pregnant client while others in her group ran downstairs to safety. God bless your spirit indeed, Darya Lin.
(Her father was a physicist at UMich; prototype 9/11 memorial sculptures by Jens Zorn mention Darya and her father here.)
5 August 2014
What’s goose for the berry is … ummm…. gander… ummm. Never mind! I got that proverb all messed up.
Some years back, I discovered that a ‘mystery’ bush in my backyard is actually gooseberry (as documented in this post). I’ve never really taken care of them, and it doesn’t get much sun right along the house there, so not surprisingly it doesn’t yield many berries. But I was dismayed earlier this summer to discover the leaves had been devoured by some pest. Instead of looking like this:
it looked like this:
No leaves! How tragic. I never did see any kind of insect on there, and internet searches yielded a couple of ideas but nothing definitive. There were maybe a dozen berries along one stem, so apparently the pest didn’t eat the berries – or else it missed a few. Whatever it was, it emboldened me to buy gooseberries from the Farmer’s Market and bake a pie. I’d forgotten that I’d actually made one for us before (I only remembered making one for the teachers), so after a search of my cookbooks was fruitless (and pie-less) I turned to the internet. I found recipes at a couple of sites, including allrecipes, Dakota Local Food Network, and Thrifty Fun.
The recipes mostly call for 1 cup of berries – what’s up with that? I had a quart of gooseberries, which was about 3 cups. The recipes also call for anywhere from 1 to 4 eggs. I settled on 2. Most are pretty simple, but a few include spices. After pondering, my amalgamated result is below. (Although I’m not positive I used vanilla – not all recipes called for it).
Sour Cream Gooseberry Pie
2 pie crusts
3 cups (1 quart) fresh gooseberries (tipped and tailed, as they say)
3/4 – 1 cup white sugar
1 Tab flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs, beaten
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Beat eggs. In medium bowl, combine sugar, flour, spices, salt and vanilla with sour cream. Add eggs and beat together until smooth. Gently fold in gooseberries.
Press one of the pie crusts into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie plate.
Put the gooseberry mixture into the crust. Place the second crust over the top – you can place it whole (in which case you need to cut vents), or cut into strips and weave it across the top. Crimp edges.
Bake at 400 for 10 minutes; turn down to 350 and continue baking for 45 more minutes.
Cool to room temp before serving; store in fridge.
I used green gooseberries instead of red this time around, so the result isn’t as colorful, but it was very tasty! And still good for breakfast.
3 June 2014
Today I read this article at NPR that mentions the nutritional benefits of lamb’s quarters (amongst other plants), including this line:
one serving of steamed lamb’s-quarters contained more than 60 percent of the thiamin, 40 percent of the vitamin B6, 60 percent of the calcium and 70 percent of the magnesium of the daily recommended intake.
Impressive! As it turns out, I had lambs quarters in the fridge (from my CSA, of course) and was feeling vaguely sheepish (lamb? sheep? get it?) that I hadn’t tried it yet. So I spent a few minutes looking online for recipes and ended up trying this simple idea: basically, saute the greens with onion, put in a ramekin, top with an egg and cheese, cook at 350F for 20 minutes. That’s what I made for lunch. I don’t really like the taste of eggs, so I just topped mine with goat cheese. Jonski Papa likes a dish called Turkish eggs, so I put feta on his. We both liked it. It was pretty easy, so I’ll make it again! I might leave out the vinegar, though, and it probably doesn’t need to sautè as long as she recommends.
25 November 2013
Despite this story at NPR telling me that cauliflower is not trending for Thanksgiving this year, I’ve been getting a lot of cauliflower from our CSA the past couple of months. A few years back I kept reading about roasting cauliflower in cocoa powder, so i managed to track down some recipes (including this one, which I’ve tweaked) and found a technique that Jonski Papa and I both like. Someday soon we might even get a child to try it, but I’ll admit that even the cocoa powder doesn’t totally mask the not-so-great smell of roasting cauliflower.
Oven Roasted Cocoa Cauliflower
Preheat oven to 400 F.
1 head cauliflower, cut or broken into florets
1 Tab olive oil
1 Tablespoon cocoa
1.5 tsp paprika (i have smoked sweet paprika on hand right now)
1/8 – 1/4 tsp garlic powder (i use the low end)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt (i use 1/4)
You can either toss the cauliflower with the oil and then toss with the dry seasonings, or mix the seasonings into the oil and then toss the cauliflower in that. Once the cauliflower is sufficiently coated, put on a cookie sheet or roasting pan with low sides (for better roasting quality heat flow).
Cook at 400 F for about 25 minutes, until tender (cook less if you prefer it more crunchy). Serve warm. Reheats well if you have leftovers.
Perhaps this will inspire you to buck trendiness and add cauliflower to your Thanksgiving table. After all, cacao is a new world plant, so it’s appropriate from that perspective.
18 November 2013
What happens if I try to embed a 123D Catch model into a wordpress blog entry? copy/paste code from 123dapp site:
Okay, looks like I can’t embed the 3D Viewer because it relies on iframe, which is not allowed at wordpress.com. Next best thing: link to cool 3d model on 123dapp site! Click on the “3D view” box below the skull, and see what happens.
Also, how do I get to the HTML in this new [ugh] post editor? Did they remove that option entirely??
12 October 2013
I recently bought some cinnamon apple goat cheese from Trader Joe’s, but Jonski Papa and I decided it was a bit too sweet to eat on it’s own (even with crackers). I also recently got a few puny misshapen pears from my CSA. And I had dough for a pie crust, left over from making chard pie last week. Somewhere in the back of my mind was lurking an idea: pear goat cheese tart. Maybe I had been seeing pears and goat cheese when looking for directions on how to crisp pancetta? Anyway, combine all this, start it simmering on low, and I ended up looking for recipes. I got inspired by this one and came up with my own creation.
Apple Pear Goat Cheese Tart/Pie
single pie crust
6 to 8 ounces apple cinnamon goat cheese
pears (mine might have been the equivalent of 2 ‘medium’ pears?)
an apple (unless, I suppose, you have lots of pears!) (I used honeycrisp; it’s what I have in the house right now)
cinnamon sugar (Trader Joe’s cinnamon sugar grinder ftw)
0. Preheat oven to 375° F.
1. Roll out pie crust and put in pie dish. If you actually own a tart dish, use that instead. Or ditch pans altogether and go galette style, as in the inspiring recipe.
2. Slice the goat cheese log into thin slices. Layer them on the crust. I managed to cover the crust with an almost complete log (we’d eaten a few slices before determining we didn’t like it on its own).
3. Slice up the pears and layer them over the goat cheese. I barely had enough for one layer – I’m sure more would be even better!
4. Using your nifty apple coring/peeling/slicing tool, turn the apple into a slinky. Cut the apple slinky in half from top to bottom so you have two neat stacks of apple slices. (Don’t have the nifty tool? I guess you can just core your apple and somehow generate nice even slices.)
5. Artistically (see above :^) place the apple slices atop the pear layer. I had leftover slices, which were eaten as appetizer by the child who set the table.
6. Grind (or sprinkle) cinnamon sugar over the apples.
7. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until nicely browned.
8. Cool for 20 minutes or so and then eat.
I cooked for 40 minutes, but the naked crust edges got a bit overly done. You could probably avoid this problem if your pie was more full. Or if you actually used a tart pan, since apparently they are more shallow. Even with the slightly overdone edges, this was really really good – the sum is way better than the individual parts, especially that too-sweet goat cheese part. I would probably even buy the goat cheese another time, in order to make this again!
15 March 2013
The confluence of our annual Pi(e) Day party and the first spring CSA pickup has awakened my blog from winter hibernation.
One of my contributions was chard pie, which I’ve blogged about before. I used Trader Joe’s puff pastry as the crust (I’d already made 2 pie crusts – for a pecan and a chocolate chip pie – and Matthew made pizza crusts). As Matthew was telling someone that the chard was grown just a few miles down the road, I started laughing and announced that there was actually not any chard in the chard pie – it included spinach, a bit of arugula (I’d eaten most of it the day before), and the ‘salad mix’ that Jennifer bagged up for us (I saw a few leaves of kale, mustard or mizuna, and lots of other things). It turned out great – you don’t need chard to make the so-called Micah’s Yummy Chard Pie. This pie now makes regular appearances at our house (without the dill :^) – we grown-ups like it, and someday soon I might be able to get Z-boy to try it (not holding my breath for the other two. Like me, they’re not fans of straight eggs. Unlike me, they’re not all that adventurous about new foods, so might not buy the ‘but really, it doesn’t taste eggy!’ line).
I was quite excited when one of my friends showed up with a shoo-fly pie. I told her it was the perfect librarian pie, because I was thinking of the book Shoo-Fly Girl, by Lois Lenski. I’ve never had it before so had no idea what to expect, but between the molasses and the texture it tastes like a piece of really good gingerbread on a crust. She used Alton Brown’s recipe. I might have to try making it myself some day soon, and I might just go back and re-read Shoo-Fly Girl.
13 October 2012
I am late to be posting this, since zucchini season is pretty much over where I live, but here it is nonetheless. When I was retrieving my CSA share one week, another member mentioned he would make zucchini fritters for his family with the squash he just picked up. This sounded interesting to me, so I perused my cookbooks to no avail. The internet was more helpful, and I ended up adapting a recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which is itself an adaptation from Simply Recipes.
I made them three times. The first time, I had grated potatoes that had been hanging out in the kitchen for a few hours (spouse and a child made hash browns for an earlier meal) – i added them primarily to clean up. These were a big hit. The second time, I left out the potato, and that batch was more mushy – but I also made an error in the mixing order (zucchini to the egg before the flour? or something like that) which could have been the problem. The third time, I added potatoes in again, but they didn’t have as much time to sit around and the result was not as great as the first. Maybe the potato shreds really need to dry out? Or maybe it was a fluke? Two out of three children liked Batch 1 but one of them did not stay a long-term fan. Hopefully he’ll be willing to try again next summer, because I certainly plan to make them again!
(aka zucchini fritters meet hash browns)
Adapted from Zucchini Fritters at Smitten Kitchen
Yield: About 10 2 1/2 inch fritters
1 pound (about 2 medium) zucchini
1 teaspoon coarse or Kosher salt, plus extra to taste
~1 cup grated potatoes (as for hash browns)
2 scallions, split lengthwise and sliced thin
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
other seasonings you might like, to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Olive or another oil of your choice, for frying
Trim ends off zucchini and grate them with the shredding blade of a food processor (use the large holes of a box grater if you don’t have an FP). In a large bowl, toss zucchini with 1 teaspoon coarse salt and set aside for 10 minutes.
While you are waiting for zucchini to weep, mix together the flour, baking soda, and some freshly ground black pepper. In a separate bowl, mix the scallions with your lightly beaten egg.
Wring out the zucchini in one of the following ways: pressing it against the holes of a colander with a wooden spoon to extract the water, squeezing out small handfuls at a time, or wrapping it up in a clean dishtowel or piece of cheese cloth and wringing away. [I did all three, in order. More liquid came out at each step. At the end, you have a green ball, much more compact than the zucchini you started with!]
Taste the zuke shreds; and if you think it could benefit from more salt, add a little bit more (sk recommends 1/4 teaspoon).
Stir the green matter into the egg mixture, then add your potato shreds, and finally stir in the flour mixture.
In a large heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Drop small bunches of the zucchini mixture onto the skillet and lightly flatten them with your spatula. Don’t crowd! Cook the fritters over moderately high heat until the edges underneath are golden, from 3 to 4 minutes. If you find this happening too quickly, reduce the heat to medium. Flip the fritters and fry them on the other side until browned underneath again, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Drain briefly on paper towels.
If you’re going to need to cook more than 2 batches, SK recommends that you “transfer to baking sheet and then into the warm oven until needed. Repeat process, keeping the pan well-oiled, with remaining batter. I like to make sure that the fritters have at least 10 minutes in the oven to finish setting and getting extra crisp.” (I skipped this step, as I was able to make 6 fritters in my ~8″ cast iron skillet.) And if you want a lemony-garlic sour cream topping for your fritters, check out the Smitten Kitchen post – it was a nice addition the time I made it.
27 August 2012
The perfect roasted marshmallow, as described by Jeanne Birdsall in The Penderwicks at Point Mouette (p 142):
Roasting marshmallows over an open fire is an art. The marshmallow should be evenly toasted all around until it’s a golden brown. A slight puckering of the skin is all right, and some people like that the best. The inside should be hot all the way through and softened, but not melted into messy gooeyness. Not one of the marshmallows roasted that night came even close. Many were burned black at least on one side, and the ones that weren’t were barely roasted. No one cared.
I would have cared. The only marshmallows worth eating are the ones toasted to a golden brown, hot and softened.
7 June 2012
We’ve had a long-standing tradition of “Taco Tuesday” at the Jonski Homestead. A month or so ago, I responded to a request for tacos on a different day of the week with a flippant “maybe we should have tacos every night.” This snark was met with much enthusiasm. So this week has been taco week!
Monday night was carne asada on corn tortillas. I used this recipe, although I modified the spices quite a bit (based on what I had on hand) and skipped the sauce making steps. Also, I used a (locally raised, grass-fed :^) sirloin tip roast instead of flank steak, because it was much less expensive. I sliced the roast in half before marinading for an hour, then sliced it into strips as it started cooking. Things got a little nerve-wracking at one point (a layer of gristle (?) made for difficult slicing) and I began to fear that our tacos would be a failure, but they were declared “as good as Taco King!” (a new taqueria in the neighborhood, with really great $1.50 steak tacos). And the meat was not tough, despite starting its career as a roast but not being slow roasted. This will be repeated.
Tuesday night was the traditional ground beef (and cheese, sometimes beans, salsa, lettuce, etc) in hard shells, along with black beans. Can’t mess with tradition. Everyone except me likes these – although the youngest doesn’t want ground beef in his. Go figure. I am not a fan of store-bought crunchy taco shells, even the Trader Joe’s organic (non-GMO) corn taco shells that we use. I always have something else (such as beans and cheese in corn tortillas left from Monday).
Wednesday night we had chicken tacos in flour tortillas. Between picking up my farm share and delivering a child to baseball practice, I sauteed some boneless skinless white meat, then sliced it up and heated it for a while in my favorite salsa (tomatillo roasted yellow pepper, from Trader Joe’s).
Thursday night was leftovers and “pizza tacos,” due to the ice cream social at school. The eldest child and I whipped up a few tacos from the leftovers; the youngest two had a slice of pizza (and ice cream, and popcorn, and cotton candy, and… you get the picture) at the social.
Friday night will be pork tacos – I need to track down a way to prepare it. A few months ago I put a pork roast in the crock pot with a “mojito” style marinade/sauce and turned it into shredded pork at the end. That was pretty good. Maybe I can track it down and try again.
A friend suggested fish tacos, but the Jonski Papa is out of town this week so I’d be the only one who would eat them. Ditto for strictly veggie tacos (such as sauteed peppers and onions, my sometime Tuesday night alternative). Bean tacos are acceptable, so if Taco Week extends into Saturday we might be looking at beans – plus the rest of the steak and chicken.
(aside: Taco King prepares their tacos with cilantro and chopped raw onions. Surprisingly, everyone in my family liked the cilantro – none of those soap-tasters in this family, and willing acceptance of a new green food. So cilantro has accompanied the lettuce all week – both from Capella Farms. Raw onions are roundly rejected by everyone, so not included (and excluded from orders at TK).)