Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Misc. tasty things

A recipe:
Fennel slaw with pistachio pesto
This caught my eye: I like pesto, I like fennel. I also never really know what to do with fennel. One of my labmates once suggested putting it in stew/soup, but I'm not a stew/soup maker. I've also done prosciutto-wrapped veggies as a simple and quick appetizer, and used fennel as one of the veggies, but it's a bit boring. So when I saw this one on Everyday Italian with Giada DeLaurentiis, I said, ooh.

Make pesto: toast 3/4cup of pistachios, then add them to a food processor with 2cups flat leaf parsley, 1T fresh thyme (I used a 1/2T of provence herb blend I found in my mom's cabinet, that was fine), 3 garlic cloves and blend until finely chopped. Then run the food processor and slowly pour in 3/4cup olive oil, and voila, pesto.

In addition to the herb change, I skipped the olive oil and replaced it with about 1/2cup lemon juice. I don't really like oily foods, so I usually either drastically reduce the amount of oil I add or cut it altogether. I'm also trying to lose weight at the moment (or realistically, cut down on other things so I can enjoy my baking, which is what I'd rather eat than anything fried or potato-y or with oil, anyway). At first, the lemon pesto was quite lemony, but when I coated the chopped fennel (into bite-sized pieces) with it, the mild licorice flavor of the fennel went really nicely with the somewhat overly-citrusy pesto, and was good. Also, the pistachios give it a great flavor, much more interesting (in my opinion) than pine nuts.

I made this recipe for a potluck luncheon. I also made a simple tomato/basil/mozzarella salad. I reduced balsamic with figs (see previous entry), starting with 1 cup of balsamic vinegar, and added that to a bowl containing 5 medium tomatoes cut into wedges, a bunch of chiffonaded basil, and a pound of small mozzarella balls. Mix it all together, and make sure you grab a serving for yourself before it's all gone! You can add olive oil, but again, not my thing. This recipe is completely fat-free if you avoid the mozzarella, and I believe that's not a very high-fat cheese, anyway (as cheeses go).

Non-recipe good food:
Boyfriend and I went to the farmer's market on Saturday. Since we live in a fairly rural area (at least compared to where I lived before), the farmer's market is big, a big deal, and popular. One should really arrive early, although the stand that used to sell out before 11am (except for the plain croissants) now has a bakery here in town, so their stuff lasts a bit longer.

Boyfriend got some elk sausage from an elk ranch relatively nearby. They have quite a variety, and since this was our first farmer's market of the season, he chose our favorite, the celtic stout sausage. It's good. They put Guinness in it, and I'm not sure what else, but slap those babies on the grill and the result is extreme goodness. He also grilled some sweet potato wedges and made a salad, and after my long day in lab (an on a Saturday, so I was a bit bitter), it was heaven.

I'm currently reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan. A labmate lent it to me, and praised it. It took me a while (about 6 months) to finally begin it, since I'm not usually a non-fiction kind of reader, but while it's slow going, it's really interesting. Last week I read the section on the pastoral farm, which, in a quick summary, is about how animals that eat grass are healthier and produce better food (meat, eggs, etc- probably milk too, but I don't think that was specifically mentioned) than their corn-fed counterparts. (Incidentally, feeding cows corn is terrible for their health, and the only reason they can survive on it is because they're slaughtered younger than their grass-fed counterparts.) By "better", I mean healthier for us, as well as tasting better- "more chickeny" was a common quote from people interviewed. Anyway, so I'm thinking about fresh eggs- not necessarily eggs from grass-fed chickens (cage-free and grass-fed are not the same thing, and free-range chickens don't always range freely. They're given the choice, but, being creatures of habit, don't always take advantage of the foreign outdoor range offered to them) because this seems to be hard to find, but fresh eggs. So, I found one stand selling eggs from their farm, and I bought them. Added bonus: they were cheaper than at the grocery store. Jumbo eggs were 14cents less, and large eggs were 69 cents less. Eggs are outrageously-priced right now in my area, $3.39 for the jumbos, $3.19 for larges.

So, the eggs. They don't look fresh when you crack them in a pan, the whites are runny, a sign of old eggs. However, they weren't refrigerated (which is fine, they just last longer in the fridge, and once you fridge them, they need to stay fridged), so maybe that affects the whites in ways I'm not familiar with. However, they're quite huge (the farm jumbos make the grocery store jumbos look like mediums) and they do have a richer taste. And, they're cheaper. So that's nice.

This week I have 3-4 hour rehearsals tomorrow on, with a choir concert on Saturday, so I won't be cooking at all after tonight, when I probably won't cook anyway because I'll need to sleep to get myself ready. I will probably make a pina colada smoothie tonight, my favorite post-gym meal/heavy snack, so if that's good, I'll tell about it. I'm planning another farmer's market trip on Saturday, when I have people in town for my concert and no Saturday morning rehearsal, so I'm hoping some veggies might start coming out. I'm not really in tune with vegetable seasons, unfortunately, aside from asparagus and citrus.

1 comment:

Sophia Sparx said...

For more great pesto recipes, see http://iheartpesto.blogspot.com