[narcissism, vanity, exhibitionism, ambition, vanity, vanity, vanity]


Good thing my blood pressure's 90/60.

Once a week, I get an eco-bag full of vegetables from a farm in East Greenwich. The veggies are local, fresh, organic, and they don't require a jumbo jet's worth of fuel to get to Providence. But I have no control over what's in the bag or how much. This is a problem when I've got, say, a bagful of spinach, a pile of dandelion greens, 25 radishes and a handful of sugar snap peas. Sometimes, the farm distributes recipes, which helps with the cooking dilemma. But mostly I'm on my own. So I've devised some flavor rubrics and a method: chop, slice or otherwise transform the vegetables into bite-size pieces and throw them in a pan with some hot olive oil and...

Salt, lemon, pepper.
Salt, garlic, basil.
Salt, cilantro, cumin, turmeric, coriander.
Salt, salt, salt.

I could toss the result with pasta or rice (maybe add a chopped tomato). Or put it all in the food processor and have tapenade. A can of beans could be added in either case, for more protein. Or grilled chicken. The point is to get a method together that will result in reliably good, easy-to-make meals even when the farm sends an unusual vegetable ...

To be perfectly honest, the radishes make me a little crazy. I have no idea what to do with them.

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Mise en Place

"One of the reasons I love the world of the kitchen is because so much of the work of cooking has a metaphorical component. I believe that cooking well, or striving to, is a metaphor for living well. Having good mise en place is a metaphor for being organized in your life and in your mind. Its goals are to ensure preparedness and efficiency of action." Ruhlman.

I love how this observation deepens the idea of "getting things done," makes it seem more wonderful, more meaningful, and less about the metrics inevitably attached to "what gets done".

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If I Bring These to Jane's School...

...will I win Mommy of the Year?

via Boing Boing, recipe from eGullet

"Finger" Cookies (use them for air quotes!)
makes ~ 5 dozen
Yield: 5 dozen
Please note, this is not a nut-free recipe!

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
2 2/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup whole blanched almonds
raspberry jelly

In bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg, almond extract and vanilla. Stir dry ingredients together, then add to wet and stir thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Working with one quarter of the dough at a time and keeping remainder refrigerated, roll a scant tablespoon full (I used a 1 oz. cookie scoop) of dough into a thin log shape about 4" long for each cookie. Squeeze clost to center and close to one end to create knuckle shapes. Press almond firmly into the end of the cookie for nail. Using paring knife, make slashes in several places to form knuckle. You want them a bit thin and gangly looking, since they'll puff a little when you bake them.

Place on lightly greased baking sheets (or use silicone sheets or parchment); bake in 325F oven for 20-25 minutes or until pale golden. Let cool for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, melt jelly over low heat in a small saucepan.

Carefully lift almond off of each finger, spoon a tiny amount of jelly onto nail bed and press almond back in place so the jelly oozes out from underneath. You can also make slashes in the finger and fill them with "blood.

You can also form toes - just make the cookies shorter and a bit wider and only add one joint instead of two. No almonds for these, just indent where the nailbed should be and add a bit of melted jelly to highlight once they are baked.

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