Sunday, September 23, 2007

What's on the menu this weekend?

Barbara Kingsolver describes her family's experiences in living off the Appalachian land in "Vegetable, Animal, Miracle". It motivated me to make a long overdue trip to the local Farmers' Market. Here's what I got:-
  1. Delicious stone ground whole wheat bread with walnuts and rolled oats
  2. Fig jam (YUM!)
  3. Onions
  4. Potatoes
  5. Tomatoes - after eating these one wonders why we pay $2 a pound for their flavorless counterparts at Kroger's
  6. Yellow Squash
  7. White Eggplant
  8. Strawberries! I devoured the entire clamshell within minutes of returning home. Again, I'd rather not eat strawberries at all, if the only option is the overpriced tasteless kind trucked all the way from California

Of course, I cheated and bought some things from Whole Foods as well (red kale - not available in the farmers' market, ginger, garlic *)

Yesterday's menu:
Lobia cooked with onion/tomato/potato (leftover from Friday)
Eggplant/tomato/onion delight! The tomatoes were so juicy that I didn't need to add any water at all. The turmeric had turned the eggplant a delectable shade of spring green.

Today's menu:
Squash/tomato curry (the trick is not to overcook it to the point where the squash completely wilts and loses shape)
Red lentils cooked with kale, garlic, onion and ginger (still cooking on the range)

Compare this with the food I had been eating while traveling to Richmond: disgusting, soggy pizza with indifferent toppings (Applebee's at RIC); loads and loads of coffee, M&Ms; even the fruit that was served at breakfast during our meeting was tasteless - I might as well have chewed on cardboard dressed up as a peach.

My mother is right. Cooking can actually be very relaxing. And I love being in control of what goes into each dish. In a pinch, there's always pasta (all the ones at Whole Foods pass my test**) and pasta sauce (I like Muir Glen the best). No apologies for being so narcissistic; I think I like the food I cook much better than eating out. To the extent that I'd rather eat instant oatmeal for dinner than go out to a restaurant.***

*The only disadvantage of buying them at the Farmers Market is that they sell all produce in pre-set quantities; for instance $3 for 3 large tomatoes, and so on. One bulb of garlic lasts me for months, since I use it sparingly; and at Whole Foods they are quite happy to sell you one bulb if that's all you want.
** No HFCS, no partially hydrogenated oils, no -ites and -ates and whatchamacallits.
***Of course, the best kind of food is the kind my mother/aunt/sister cook for me :D
**** My friend is right. I just can't write without "them footnotes".


Vijaya Gopal said...

Completely enjoyed reading your blog. Especially the footnotes!


Googoo Baby said...

Addendum: Kale seriously inhibits the cooking of red lentils. Even though the lentils had been soaking in hot water for a while, once mingled with the kale, it refused to cook completely even after 2+ hours on the range. Even tomatoes don't do such a good job of interfering with the cooking process, because red lentils will cook in the presence of tomatoes in 1 hour.
Oh well. We learn new things all the time. And red lentils are the easiest to digest, so I ate them even though they were slightly undercooked..

Harita said...

fresh homemade food... sounds yummy :D

Usha said...

Wow! Your blog has inspired me to cook a good meal tonight! Ok, so it will be lobia for dinner!