Saturday, January 22, 2005

Self-medicating with fresh local produce.

You know, having basically no friends in this area, a boyfriend who works late, and a job where not much happens makes for a lonely, sad little Emily. This fact has been made readily apparent to me in the last week when, in conjunction with what I can only assume is the nasty thoes of PMS, I cried on two occasions and was sullen and pissy with Kevin and incommunicado with almost everyone else. I'm a lot of fun.

Anyway, I kept trying to think of ways to put this that weren't "woe is me" crap when I realized this is a bunch of "woe is me" crap, which doesn't make it any less legitimate that I'm not feeling very happy, but it's not much fun to read.

I did do one enjoyable thing this week, though. On Tuesday, my sister and I visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium of loveliness. No stories, just reporting that something pleasant and different occurred. Pretty drive via Gilroy, cool fish, quality time with the one peer who's known me the longest (I guess that's fair to say).

But, yeah, I'm feeling a little peppier now—after last night, which was a disaster of driving to Downtown San Jose to find an Ethiopian restaurant that doesn't exist and going to bed without dinner, because, again, I'm a lot of fun—having been productive most of the day. I cleaned the kitchen, did dishes, filed my federal income tax return, and did some mad cooking.

Here is what I made. It turned out pretty well. Also, cutting things like onions and spaghetti squash with my big chef's knife? Awesome.

Green Vegetable Soup

1 or more leeks, chopped
2 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 or more head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 1/2 c. frozen peas
bay leaf
4 c. vegetable broth ("Better than Bouillon" brand comes recommended)
small handful chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Put the leeks, potatoes, and onion in a pot with the broth and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes, stirring often. Add broccoli and peas, boil, simmer another 10 minutes and keep stirring. At this point, if you enjoy pureeing things in a blender or food processor, you can, but I prefer to skip the mess of all that and let the potatoes disintegrate into the broth and have a nice, chunky soup. Add the seasonings shortly before serving.

This recipe comes from The Greatest Ever Vegetarian Cookbook, although I've certainly fudged the details. Oh, and if you didn't notice, there is no oil involved, so this is probably reasonably diet-friendly if your diet is not wretchedly anti-potato. Also, be careful with the salt and the broth, because sometimes the broth can be too salty or totally unsalted.

Spaghetti Squash with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

1 spaghetti squash
1/4 marinated sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
bunch of fresh basil
3-4 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/8 c. toasted pinenuts
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Place them skin-side up in a baking pan with approximately 1/2 c. of water and roast at 350'F for about 40 minutes or until cooked. You should be able to stab a fork in there and, when it's done, turn it over and pick at the flesh with a fork. It should be tender and the strands of squash will come out. This is totally a lot of fun. If you have a big squash, you might want to use only half for this particular dish and play around with the other half.

The pesto is fairly self-explanatory: chop up basil a bit, smash garlic, and put them in a little chopper/blender/mortar bowl with the pinenuts; mince into a pesto-y delight. Put it in a tub you'd like to keep it in, stir in salt and pepper, cover with a little olive oil.

When you have these components ready, toss the squash strands in a bowl with some pesto and the sun-dried tomatoes. It is mild and pretty tasty. Should go well with any number of dishes.


So this week I'm doing the car registration crap, which is going to cost a lot of money and make me sad. Sadder, anyway. But for now, I have food. Yay for food.


aja said...

buck up, camper!
it sounds like you were very productive today! that usually makes me feel better. but sometimes you need energy to be productive. and sometimes what little energy you have has to be used to get out of bed in the morning.
well, this didn't go how i planned at all.
yay for cooking!

emily said...

aja is pretty. you guys should come on vacation to san jose. or i should have a million dollars so i can travel and see people who don't live here. like you guys. ALL OF YOU.

aja said...

aww! :D
i would love to go visit! but this time, i'm going to the damned crazy winchester castle or whatever it is. haha. but yes, i'm getting desperate for a vacation. seriously.