Bookish Matters

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Friday, July 27, 2012

Food Friday—Menu

Here are some of the things I'll be making this week.

Tofu benedict
Seitan stew
Kale tacos

The usual snacks: fruit, veggies, trail mix, smoothies

And perhaps more appetizers like what I made with my gentleman friend last night—heirloom tomatoes, green apple slices, crackers, peppadew cocktail sauce, chevre, shrimp:

I've decided to try one new recipe a week (preferably from a cookbook on my shelf rather than the internet), and make one favorite recipe a week. I can get so caught up experimenting in the kitchen I forget about established recipes. Vegan hollandaise sauce and seitan stew are new recipes I'm trying (and depending on whether or not I'm in Moscow next week, I might even try homemade English muffins); kale tacos are an old stand-by. But I'm still experimenting: The picante is a dish I've gotten multiple times at Sangria, a restaurant here in Moscow. I'm going to try making it at home. It's tofu, potatoes, broccoli, green beans, and cilantro in a garlic serrano sauce with rice. And for dessert I'm going to try making chocolate pudding sweetened with agave. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

In the Garden

What is going on in my garden?

Well, it's not the magical abundant flourishing I imagined come late July. In fact, it's a lot of weeds and dirt. I came back from Holden Village to find my snap peas dying, but with peas on the vines. My lily and dahlia bulbs never sprouted. The lupine never came up. The marigolds never came up. The indoor seedlings never moved past the pot-of-dirt stage.

However, I have nasturtiums! Little ones over in the shady area. They didn't come up in the sunnier area with the lupine.

I also have one sunflower! It grew over a foot while I was gone, and now looks like it's getting ready to bloom.

Why do you have only one sunflower? you ask.


They use my sunflower patch as a litter box, and dug up all but one sunflower while the sunflowers were just seedlings. I've got tips on how to fend off slugs, ants, aphids, and all manner of creepy-crawlies. But cats?!

The strawberries are doing fine, the spinach has bolted (but that's to be expected come mid-summer), and I've got three flourishing tomato plants, one with a bunch of little green fruits. I've got one pepper plant that is very temperamental. When I came back from Holden it was so wilted and shriveled I thought it was a goner, but careful watering has made it look almost healthy.

Sometimes I curse Idaho and its fickle weather, frost one moment and in the nineties the next. Sometimes I think I have a black thumb. And then I tell myself this is all just practice, for when I move back to the Pacific Northwest and have my own land and own garden.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


I've just come back from vacation in Holden Village, feeling refreshed and renewed, and inspired to eat soup and salad! I'm also going to see if I can imitate an absolutely scrumptious raspberry bar Holden served for coffee break. Here's what I'll be eating the next few days:

Tempeh bacon, caramelized onion, and vegan chipotle aioli on toast
Green smoothie

Quinoa salad with cucumber, tomato, chickpeas, kalamata olives, oil and vinegar

Lentil and veggie soup
Goat cheese
Green apple
Red wine

Desserts and Sweet Treats
Raspberry bars
Dark chocolate

Fruit and veggies
Trail mix

Possible appetizer/snack for later in the week: shrimp with peppadew cocktail sauce and goat cheese

Friday, July 13, 2012

In the Kitchen—Hot Summer, Cold Breakfast

As I write this, it is 9 AM and 82 degrees. It has been HOT in Idaho, and all over the country I hear. I like to make nice breakfasts, especially on the weekends, waffles and french toast and potatoes. The last time I made potatoes and eggs with a slice of berry pie for my gentleman friend he asked if we could start having cold breakfasts. Even early in the morning turning the stove on is too much heat. We joked we'd start eating potato chips and iced tea for breakfast. But I got to thinking, so here are some ideas for breakfasts when you want something more exciting than a bowl of cereal on a hot morning. And they don't require any more cooking than a toaster.

Overnight oatmeal, a green smoothie, and a hard-boiled egg. Overnight oatmeal, you may remember, is adding 1 part steel-cut oats to 1.5 parts milk or dairy alternative, plus whatever spices, nuts or seeds you like, and letting it sit in the fridge overnight. You can boil the eggs whenever you have a spare minute, and keep them in the fridge to supplement breakfast the rest of the week.

Smoked salmon and avocado or cream cheese on an English muffin or bagel, a green smoothie. To make it a healthy breakfast, be sure to read the ingredients on your bread products. Check the whole-grain content, and how much sugar or corn syrup is in there.

Avocado, tomato, sprouts, spinach, green onion, and hard-boiled egg on a bagel, with a side of fruit and yogurt. Don't eat eggs? Marinated and baked tofu can be substituted. As for the yogurt, I always get plain soy yogurt, and occasionally add a little honey or stir in some all-fruit jam.

Half a bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon, half a bagel with avocado and assorted veggies, fruit, yogurt.

What do you like to eat for brekkers in the summer?