Tuesday, June 28, 2005


I don't give orders very often. I am sort of a "go with the flow" kind of person, probably due to my unconquerable laziness and California heritage.

But this item my cooking friends, is something you really really need.

The Messermeister Serrated Swivel Peeler is a wonder. It can skin a tomato. It can skin an apricot. It can make slices of parmesan thin enough to read through. YOU WILL LOVE THIS PEELER. Come on, it is less than 5 bucks. Just buy one and make both of us happy.

Besides, you needed to know about Surfas Online anyway.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Don't forget the Mystery Contest!!

Scroll down a bit for Mystery Contest 2.

Email entries (don't comment!) to snackishblog@yahoo.com. The sign is in Chinese, so if you know someone who reads Chinese, you are in luck.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Chrysanthemum Leaves

Chrysanthemum Leaves

I have had a soft spot in my heart for chrysanthemums ever since a hot and sweaty summer as an intern at Kono & Sons growers in Carpenteria, California in, oh about 1985. 20 years ago. Yeesh. I AM old.

But I have never, ever eaten chrysanthemum leaves or even seen them at Farmer's Market before this week.

I looked online and found some interesting stuff at the Hormel website, of all places.

I also dug up a recipe at Sweet baby media that sounds beautiful and interesting. It is a Korean dish.

I didn't buy any chrysanthemum leaves because I didn't know what to do with them. Next week I will pick some up and let you know how the recipe goes.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Vegetable Pancake

I am a weird pancake eater. I prefer savory over sweet pancakes. I would rather find a slice of swiss cheese in my pancake than maple syrup on my pancake.

I made this recipe up, inspired by Japanese okonomi-yaki.

It is a kitchen sink recipe - anything in the veg drawer can go into it. I love fresh corn, a bit of onion, scallion or shallot, sliced bell peppers, shredded carrots or zucchini.

The raw

It is a lunchtime staple because I can make it in about 5 minutes. I usually eat it with dijon mustard, salsa, taco sauce or soy sauce, depending on my mood & what culinary region is tickling me lately.

You could add meat too - I never thought of that until just this moment! See what 20 years of vegetarianism will do to you.

1 egg, beaten
A couple tablespoons of flour
About 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup of vegetables shredded or in small dice
dash of salt

Blend all ingredients and cook over medium high heat in a lightly oiled non-stick frying pan. Flip when the bottom has gotten brown. That is it.

And the cooked.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Isn't this the most beautiful vegetable? It was part of dinner tonight.

At Farmer's Market, they described it as "Chinese Red Spinach" but I am pretty sure, botanically speaking, that it is an amaranth, a green leafy vegetable and seed totally unrelated to the Order of the Amaranth (weird one, huh?)

I washed the leaves and sauteed a clove of garlic in olive oil for a minute, then dumped the leaves in and flipped them over a few times until they wilted a little.

They turned the garlic slices quite pink. Pretty.

The result was nice and tasted vegetal and green, a nice healthy side dish for my frozen pizza from Trader Joe's.

In Oaxaca, they make a delicious sweet of popped amarath seed called an alegria which means "happiness". Spending a buck on a big slab of alegria and chomping on it for the next few days always made ME happy.

The seeds are super high in protein - 16 to 18 percent. As my dad would say "Good and good for you."

Mystery contest item 2

It is mystery item contest time again! I am talking about the reddish leaves, not the round squashes.

Email your guesses about what this is to snackishblog@yahoo.com and I will choose a random winner from the correct answers on July 1. The winner gets a $5 Barnes n Noble gift card. Woo hoo.

It helps, of course, if you read Chinese. If you do, the sign will tell you what this is. Give me either the english name or the chinese name sounded out - I can't read chinese characters and that would be, well, too easy.

My beautiful girl

I know this isn't about food, but sometimes you just have to take a break from the kitchen, step back and admire your dog.

I got Goldie from the animal shelter three years ago on July 1, when she was 6 1/2 years old.

She is half greyhound, half lab. She can run like the wind, dig like a backhoe and wag like a maniac when she sees something interesting to chase.

Chasing? It is her favorite hobby. She sees a slight movement and her greyhound instincts kick in...and she's off.

We live in the Conejo ('Rabbit" in Spanish) Valley and she has sent her share of bunnies scurrying into the bushes in fear for their lives.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The tasty white Gaya melon

Not as sweet as a honeydew; not as melony as a canteloupe; not as mushy as a Crenshaw.

The Gaya melon is small, white on the outside flecked with a few green splashes, white and fairly firm inside.

It makes a good background fruit for a fruit salad with raspberries and blueberries. The colors look beautiful together.

The only slightly annoying thing is that the outside and inside are the same color, so when you trim off the rind, it is hard to see where you have missed spots.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

One day in the food life

I haven't had time to cook lately. That is becoming a theme on this blog, huh?

In his personals ad, my old housemate described himself as an artist and a runner. He had last worked as an artist when he was 22. He had run cross-country in high school. He was 53 years old.

That is the kind of cook I am becoming. Someone who loves to cook. Loves to read recipes and buy ingredients. Loves to think about food. And someone who can't remember the last time she put a whole meal together and sat down like a human at the table to eat it.

More than cooking, I assemble.

At lunch I grab a whole-wheat tortilla, cheese and salsa for the 7,148th quesadilla of my life. Or chop up some fruit to put in yogurt.

Or stuff a pita with packaged baked tofu, arugula and ajvar red-pepper spread.

It's good food, high-quality food. It just ain't really cooking.

As an example I will list what I ate today, in case you were wondering (yeah, right).

2 bran muffins made with the recipe from one of my first blog posts, with blueberries added.
Coffee - Decaf Blue Batak with lots of milk

More coffee iced with, yes, lots of milk

Lunch at home
Mayoromo Oaxacan Mole from a jar, thinned with water & heated, with tofu chunks and torn up corn tortillas in it.
What the heck this is I don't know. Some Cal-Mex mutation on a plate, black and weird looking. But pretty tasty.
A roasted beet with balsamic vinegar and kosher salt. A classic combination.
A handful of Baked Lays chips

Afternoon at my desk, foraging in my drawer
About 5 squares of the demonically addictive Ritter Sport dark chocolate marzipan-filled candy. Why is it called "sport"? To make me feel athletic while I am sitting in front of a computer watching my butt grow??

The Coffee Run
Iced Peet's coffee, half decaf, half caf

Dinner Part 1
Here is where it gets pathetic. I had to go to a meeting where a "light dinner" was catered. When you see the words "light lunch" or "light dinner" on an invitation, what it really means is "we're too cheap to feed you properly" and "stick a protein bar in your purse."
A mini croissant, quite damp and soft, with thinly sliced cucumber, bell pepper, tomato and american cheese. I love how boring caterers can get when faced with the vegetarian dilemma. Can I suggest a roasted red pepper and arugula sandwich next time?
A pretty good chocolate chip and walnut cookie with plenty of cinnamon.
Another half decaf, half caf, because I was going to be sitting through 2 hours of talk about the municipal water district.

Dinner Part 2
The desperation snack at 9:15 pm - thank God for Whole Foods.
A slice of portobello mushroom and red onion pizza chowed down at the tables by the cash registers at Whole Foods Market. By then I didn't care about ambiance.

A cup of jicama slaw from the salad bar - diced jicama, shredded carrots, cherry tomato halves, micro-thin fennel slices, oranges, and oddly enough, way too many California black olive rings. Leave out the olives next time and it is all groovy and good.

Finally home after a 12 hour day
A vodka tonic. Ahhh.

That's it. I.m not sure about vitamins, protein and fiber, but I definitely got my 5 servings a day of coffee and met my alcohol requirement.