29 September 2010

Please Comment

Multiple people have noted that they are not able to leave comments on my blog, and my friend Hari suggested that individual blogs are just having comment comment issues.
I've changed people-who-can-comment from "Registered User" to "Anyone", even though that means I will get lots of links to porn sites in my comments. Do me the favor (please), of attempting to comment. If you can't, let me know either via email or Facebook, or the next time you see me, whatever.

Also, I would like to note that my friend Hari did some research for me, and presented me with a word I had seen once, but forgotten about: arils, which are the little seedfruits of a pomegranate. Thanks, Hari!

25 September 2010

How to Eat a Pomegranate

Pomegranate season begins. My favorite. Pomegranates are tart, sticky, sweet, crunchy, and just filled with yumminess. I first tasted them last year, and this year I'm hoping to learn to cook with them maybe, or add them to salads at least (they might be a good substitute for cranberries in my Crannberry Quinoa Salad).
But, my first pomegranate of the season is simply going to be eaten. And shared with all of you, of course. This post is a tutorial: How to Eat a Pomegranate.
Of course, you can just cut one in half and rip these seeds out, spilling juice everywhere and sacrificing seeds ... but in my opinion, pomegranates are just too good to waste even a single seed. Plus, I always hated it when I had slices of orange, rather than the natural segments ... I feel the same way about pomegranates.

This is the pomegranate I bought. It's on the stove because there's strong light there, for my pictures.
Get two bowls: one for the fruit (seeds), and one for the flesh (the skin, the pith). Cut four (or three or five, but I'm drawn to four, even though pomegranates are slightly pentagonal in shape) slits in the center, starting from the crown. Don't make them very deep. Cut out the crown, but again, be careful. Leave white pith showing.
Peel the skin away from the fruit. You will get juice on your hands (because seeds will be cut or will burst under the pressure of your fingertips, no matter how careful you are), and it's sticky. Lick it off, it's yummy.
Pith will stick to the seeds. Pull it off, it's not as yummy.
As you peel, seeds will come off in your hands, place them in the seed collecting bowl (or you can eat the whole thing as you go, but I like to save them all up, and then have a bowl of yummy fruit to eat without interruption). Place the peels and other pieces in the other bowl.

Sorry for the darkness of the picture ... it was a hard shot to get, with me using both my hands to pull apart this goddess of yummy yumminess.
Grab hold of the pith; do your best to always exert pressure on the pith and skin, rather than on the seeds. Aside from the aforementioned "seed loss", if a seed explodes in your face, the juice will sting your eyes.
Rip it in half. It's a delicate process, but it's also fun, because you can't be too delicate with it, if you want the fruit to pull apart.
If there are any seeds that are less vibrant or squishier than the others, throw those in the discard bowl; they're not as yummy.
Tear the fruit into small segments and sort of brush the seeds off the membrane walls. Some will need more force, but mostly be gentle with your fruit, or it will bruise or burst.
Keep going until you have a bowl of yummy fruit!
Now, sit down with something yummy to drink (like tea or wine), a book (I'm reading shine, coconut moon, by Neesha Meminger) or a movie, and enjoy yourself with a delicious snack. Doesn't it look amazing and yummy?

19 September 2010

Farmer's Market = Happiness

Yesterday, Dylan and I went to the Farmer's Market. Despite the fact that we got a really late start on the day, and despite the fact that I somehow imprinted on 2pm as the closing time of the Market, rather than 1pm, which is when they actually close, we managed to get some yummy food, and a couple of good deals, because people were closing up.
We got heirloom tomatoes, some amazing apples, one small, very ripe cantaloupe (which we will eat today, probably with lunch), a small watermelon, some gorgeous peaches and a few bundles of garlic, and some tiny pieces of Brazilian Gluten Free bread (made with tapioca flour ... she imports the manioc from South America and makes it into flour herself). I also got a few daffodil bulbs.
We walked home (carrying the watermelon), and when we got home, we made a salad with greens we'd already had in the fridge (red leaf lettuce, spinach, a tiny bit of kale), carrots (shredded), a cucumber from my friends (via the CSA), some goat cheese, and two heirloom tomatoes.
Before eating, I took the tempeh out of the fridge, cut it into cubes, and put it in a bowl with red wine vinegar and some herbs. I put that back into the fridge to marinate.
I had to go to work after lunch for my schedule, so I got a couple things there, including more GF pasta. I'd had an idea ever since we walked out of the Farmer's Market with those heirloom tomatoes.
The tempeh and some onions we'd already had went into the wok-style fry pan with a blend of canola and olive oils. Then went in the mushrooms, the olives, the dried herbs (oregano, marjoram, and rosemary), and finally the heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil. We got out two soup plates (the large, flat bowls) and spooned out some GF pasta (shells!) and poured some of this delight over the shells. Then we grated some sheep-cheese (Pecorino Romano) over it all.
I was a little nervous starting out, because though I've had it in my fridge a while, I've never cooked or eaten tempeh before. It's made of soy, so it didn't have much taste (maybe a little of the marinade--I didn't get to marinade it very long), but I liked the texture better than tofu, so I think I'll continue cooking with it. The heirloom tomatoes were amazing, and the whole barely-cooked vegetables with tempeh and cooked onions over pasta deal was delicious. I especially loved the yellow tomatoes; it added fun color.

I'm on the hunt, currently, for tapioca and sorghum flours. They are the main ingredients to two recipes in Gluten-Free Girl: tapioca flour (or starch, I can't remember) for Lemon Cookies and sorghum flour for bread.
Anyway, gotta go. Dylan and I are seeing Eat, Pray, Love this afternoon, and we have to finish getting ready and head out.

16 September 2010

Pan-Seared Salmon and GF Cupcakes

Food is way more interesting than malaise.
Last night, instead of our usual frozen fish filets, boiled/steamed, frozen tater tots and frozen veggies (it's a staple), we had pan-seared salmon, quinoa and fresh (steamed) broccoli.
I'm reading a book called Gluten-Free Girl (she also has a blog), and it's filled with how to use food, as well as recipes, and anecdotes about food that are just mouthwatering.
One of the recipes was for pan-seared salmon. The salmon still started out frozen (and next time, I'll give it more time to thaw before starting), but we cooked it on the stove in olive oil, and then moved the pan to the oven for a couple minutes.
(While the oven was heating and the salmon was sitting on the counter--after sitting in the fridge for a couple of hours--the quinoa cooked with steamer baskets above filled with broccoli bits.)
It all would have been wonderful.
I very carefully grabbed two hot pads with which to pull the pan of fish out of the oven, and set it on the stove. DP suggested turning them over and putting them in for one minute longer. Though the recipe didn't say to, I figured we could try it, so I grabbed the handle ... And then stood at the sink for half an hour, running cold water over my hand.
Eventually we did eat, and I managed to put a lid on the salmon and leave the lid on the broccoli-and-quinoa, so everything was still warm when we sat down to eat. And though it was very yummy, I think it would have been better if it hadn't all stood there for half an hour.
I iced my hand while eating--eating with my left hand sucked--and ran it under cold water some more after eating, and I've been slathering my hand with aloe vera ever since.
It doesn't really hurt today; the skin's a little stiff, but I think that just requires more aloe.

It was my friend's birthday earlier this week, and tonight is the first time I get to see her since then. We're having a mini-party at writing group tonight, and I'm bringing Gluten-Free Cupcakes. Alas, they come from a mix, so there's not much in the way of exciting finds ... except this picture.
DP's friend Ben has chickens. He gives eggs to his coworkers. We had three Ben-eggs and three regular white store-bought eggs. The mix called for four eggs.
Guess which ones I used?

Three dark yolks from Ben's eggs, one bright-yellow yolk from the store-bought eggs. I'd never had a chance to compare them side-by-side like that ...

Anyway, more adventures with food are bound to show up here. Gluten-Free Girl is inspiring me to not just play in my kitchen more and to try new foods, but also to examine every single thing I put in my body more closely. I'm still feeling less than 100%, and it might not all be food, but food is one thing I can control, so why shouldn't I try to pull all gluten out of my diet?
Love you all!

15 September 2010

No energy. Fatigue. So much pain (especially headaches, joint pain, back pain). My gut is constantly disturbed. I'm either never hungry, or still starving after eating.
Food isn't food to my body; I don't want anything. I'm depressed. I am so tired of all of this, I just want to be done with it. Emotions are distant things; motivation is absent.
DP is fixing dinner (because he's a wonderful human being and takes care of me far beyond what I deserve), and though I can smell the tater tots and fish, my stomach is still feeling rebellious and, at the same time, completely disinterested.
I get exhausted at about 8pm. I spend the day in a brain fog, with no motivation to do anything. I start weeping for no obvious reason. Right now I am in too much pain (my back/spine, my neck, my joints, m head, my jaw, the lower back muscles, my shoulders) for me to be able to stand doing anything for more than a couple minutes.

Food might be ready, and I can't find a comfortable way to sit and write. Sorry, both for the short length of this blog, and for the topic. I don't like going on (online) about all the ways my life/health sucks. I feel like it gets boring.
Hopefully sleep will help ...

07 September 2010

I'm at a coffee shop in 15th&15th, and I have to work later this afternoon, and I have to make a stop at the downtown library before work, so this won't be long.
Today I made the trek to 15th&15th (my new address is 13th and 10th, so this is about as close as 9th&9th, plus it has The King's English, which 9th&9th certainly doesn't have ... ), and I'm pleased with it. There's an Einstein's Bagels, which unfortunately has nothing I can eat, but I have fond memories of Einstein's from my wheat-eating days (DP and I walking to Einstein's between first and second service, because I hadn't gotten any breakfast ... this was before we were dating). There's a couple restaurants, which would be good if DP and I needed an evening out and were capable of thinking of dinner before ten pm. There's the aforementioned King's English, and the Starbuck's I'm at right now ... unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any little local coffee shops in the area. And there's Tony Caputo's market, which is a little expensive, I think, but it's local and good.

I'm feeling depressed, and I might be cramping/nauseated/hungry; I can't tell. I just know that my middle is uncomfortable.
DP and I (with the help of our dear friends) put in some work in the kitchen, going through the dishes we collectively own. We didn't get through the entire thing, but we now have a decent selection of pots&pans and baking dishes, and we don't have a lot of crappy plastic storage containers--we put the crappy/mismatched ones in either the recycling or the donate box; we'll need some more containers, but good quality. We also have a donate box or two that will hang out for a little while just in case we really miss that one pot, or something. We went through the cleaning supplies, and have some things that we're just going to use up and then replace with environmentally friendlier stuff, and we have a box full of toxic waste that we'll get rid of through the toxic-waste-getting-rid-of-place. (I don't remember what it's called, only that it exists.)
We have enough room in our kitchen for two drying racks--there's a washer that we share with the upstairs people, but no dryer. We may buy a dryer at some point to share with the upstairs people, or we may continue using the drying racks. Two drying racks can dry a decent load of laundry, so I'm inclined to keep doing it this way until this way breaks down, for whatever reason.
Hopefully, there will soon be enough room in our kitchen for two drying racks and a kitchen table. Hopefully, we'll get a kitchen table sometime soon.
We also need to clear out the "Attic", which will be the Office as soon as we get enough boxes out to have both our computers in it. DP is inheriting a desk from a friend of ours, so we need enough space in the room for that Real Soon Now. My desk, complete with computer, is already in there, but I had a desk already.
We made soup the other day; a whole lot of it, because DP has a huge soup pot. Most of it went into the freezer, and I'd like to make another batch soon, but I think we'll need more serving-sized plastic containers first.

Anyway, I need to head out, go home to collect the book that is absolutely due today, and head to the library to drop that off and pick up a book that's on hold for me, so I can eat something before I head to work around 4pm.
Oh, I went to a bike shop DP recommended, and bought panniers for my bike, so that I could ride my bike to and from work, and pick up groceries after work and have a way to carry them. I've been riding down the hill to work, and then biking to the train station, taking the train back up the hill, and then biking home from the train station, but Sunday after work I biked up the hill! It actually took less time than the train route (even assuming that I don't wait for the train at all). I'll have to work up to not needing to rest so much--that hill's a bitch--but it was good.
Anyway, time to go. Love you all.