Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving, For Better Or Worse.

The Turkey, Jackson, NH, November 2010. 
Everything seems like a lot right now, but Thanksgiving did still happen.
One more drawing from last year. Blah blah blah holidays are very weird when you recently lose someone.
Not sure what I can personally handle for Christmas this year, but I feel good about decorating, I think. I guess you just do what feels right in these moments, i.e. I want to hang lights all over the house & have a giant tree & cover everything in glitter & but I honestly can't see opening presents without Gramma. 
Doesn't make sense, I know. But all the decorating crap seems peaceful, but I kind of want to skip out on the actual day this year.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Getting In The Thanksgiving Spirit, aka Cranberry Sauce & Stuffing & Gravy.

Well, it will be Thanksgiving the day after tomorrow. After some (hopefully brief) hours in Grocery Hell, I get to pack up my husband & my dog in the car (sorry DustyRose but you are not a good traveler), & drive to Cape Cod to see my family & eat good things.
 Thanksgiving 2010: The Sides, Part Two.
The (homemade by mum, always) cranberry sauce, the stuffing, & the garlicky green beans.
I lied. These sides are important too.
Anyway, I whine & moan a lot, but I'm grateful. Very very grateful, & looking forward to home tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving almost.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgivings Past & Future.

Apparently I am about a year behind in current events on this blog, as I never finished my drawings from last Thanksgiving.
Well, never say never-I just finished one. I drew this last November, in Jackson, NH, the same house where we spent our honeymoon. 
Thanksgiving 2010: The Sides, Part One. 
aka the MOST important Thanksgiving sides, mashed potatoes & creamed onions. More important than turkey or stuffing (although stuffing is pretty damn important).
Last year was an atypical Thanksgiving, in that Owen & I joined my moms in New Hampshire in a borrowed house in a beautiful place. 
This year is different in that we Diamonds lost a terribly important family member in September & one week later Owen & got married. 
It's a rather emotional holiday, I think for all of us. I can barely even write this, really, so no details. 
This year Thanksgiving will be at home, in Brewster, on Cape Cod, with new family but with a huge absence, too. 
All I meant to say here was, cheers to Thanksgiving (the sacred holiday of EnD), & all it brings.
& Gramma, I'm missing you a lot, everyday, even if I'm not so good at talking about it. But neither were you, really.


Snowy October Driveway Breakfast Sandwiches.

I mentioned the Great New England Halloween Weekend Snowstorm/Power Outage.  Where we cooked lentil soup outside & ate it in the dark? Well, here's breakfast, i.e., another chance for me to mention the overwhelming life importance of a good breakfast sandwich.
10.30.2011: Weather Related Outdoor Breakfast. 
I can't say we suffered anything truly unpleasant at all, but it was the longest time I have been without power in my adult life (two days, I know, boo hoo) & I have lived through hurricanes in New Orleans. We never lose power in our current apartment for more than a few minutes, so when the lights went out of Saturday night it seemed so very temporary.
By Sunday morning, after having got ready for work at 6am by candle light, walked to downtown to get the car from the stupid snow emergency lot (curse this town & the asinine snow parking regulations-don't get me started) called my boss at home & work several times to see if we were open, driven to work when I got no response, then found out we were closed, then got back to a cold apartment with no stove...well Owen figuring out to to fry eggs & toast bagels over a propane burner in the driveway was pretty freaking cheering.
A good hot breakfast goes a long way. It certainly helped me appreciated the day off work (& the day post-storm was a gorgeous, gorgeous day) & not really care that we didn't have light (or heat, but hey, I dug out the wool blankets & wore several of Owen's flannel shirts at once).
& the dog enjoyed eating the snow after Owen rinsed out the frying pan. Good times were, as you can see, had by all.
Breakfast sandwiches. They rule. You know, several were eaten during the purchase of my car, present in the driveway during this escapade.
Now that's the circle of life, right there.

Butternut Squash #2: With Homemade Sausage In A Lasagna Thing.

As promised, the skipped #2.
10.27.2011: Butternut Squash Week #2: 
 A sort of lasagna, with alternating layers of thinly sliced butternut squash, homemade spicy pork sausage, crushed red chilis, red sauce, garlic, onions, & boursin, burrata (cream filled mozzarella), & parmesan. Served over pasta.
I just made this up. I like making up lasagna type things, or so I call them, they are usually only lasagnas in the sense that they involve layers (remember bacon as noodles?)
But truly, who doesn't prefer meat noodles to past noodles? 
Basically, it is fun to throw a bunch of different meats & veggies into a cast iron dutch oven & bake them & cover the whole mess with cheese. I made a lovely lasagna last fall with butternut squash & homemade green tomato sauce we had canned from the abundance of green tomatoes we produced in our garden in 2010. My favorite vegetarian main course is a pesto & mashed potato lasagna.
On this particular night, we had butternut squash, of course, & we had the same homemade pork sausage that went into this meal.
No recipe. Just layers layers layers. Use what you have-this a great way to get rid of random grocery items in the fridge in a delicious fashion. 
One of the first things I ever learned to cook & still one of my top three comfort foods (eggplant parm, curry, tuna casserole) was my mom's eggplant parmesan & maybe that's why I like layers of vegetables & meat & cheese & sauce so much.
I think. I know we never had recipe #7, but once we had power & you could buy groceries again, we moved on. Blame it on the power outage. We do still have squash, so maybe I'll do one more, but no promises, since that week is long over. 
Six out of seven ain't bad, though, right?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Butternut Squash #6: Risotto.

11.1.2011: Butternut Squash Week #6:
 Risotto, with butternut squash, homemade chicken stock, white wine, garlic, butter, herbs de provence& all that good stuff. 
The first night that we were kitchen back to normal after the snow storm/power outage. We still hadn't really shopped, because while we had power, a lot of people didn't, & stores didn't really have food back yet & we were avoiding mayhem. & it was still The Great Butternut Squash Food Challenge Of 2011. !!!
We had a mason jar of risotto, homemade chicken stock that we had actually canned in the pressure cooker so didn't lose due to lack of refrigeration, butter that was already in the freezer, & white wine, so, a truly whatever the heck do we make for dinner night turned into a gorgeous meal. 
There you go. Use what you have. It's like painting with random materials as a broke art student, only you get to eat, too. 

Butternut Squash #4/5: With Red Lentils In Soup (In The Dark).

10.29.2011: Butternut Squash Week #4/5:
 Butternut squash & red lentil soup, with homemade chicken stock, cumin, ginger paste, crushed chilis & curry powder, & onions, garlic, & yukon gold potatoes, served with Boursin, eaten in the dark two nights in a row during the Great October New England Snowstorm/Power outage.
It was a few days before Halloween in Massachusetts, on a Saturday. A potential couple of feet of snow is bizarrely predicted. We get the dog walked & head back to the house, snow starts falling around 2pm, & I decide to make soup, just in case the power goes out later & we lose a lot of food & our ability to cook (electric stove). Good call. Power went out around six that night & didn't return for two days. We ate the soup Saturday night by candle light, & Sunday night by candle light once more after reheating it in the snowy driveway over the propane burner for our turkey fryer.
Thank god my husband is a redneck, with a blow torch (to make coffee) & a propane burner to reheat soup & cook eggs in the driveway. & for a huge pot of delicious soup. & for Cheezits which accompanied Sunday nights dinner & are one of my biggest guilty pleasures. When in difficult times, go to Cheezits. These are the things you are thankful for when you have no light, heat, or stove & your work doesn't tell you work is cancelled so you have to drive there to find out. Blah. Did I mention I love Cheezits?
The soup is itself, pretty basic: onions & garlic simmered in butter/small amount of bacon, add ginger paste, cumin, & curry powder, crushed chili peppers, salt & pepper, then add chicken stock, red lentils, & potatoes, bring to a boil, add cubed butternut squash, simmer for the rest of the afternoon while it snows, conveniently in a cast iron enamel pot that can also work on a outside propane flame.
My classic red lentil ginger soup, really, but with butternut squash! Because it was still The Great Butternut Squash Food Challenge Of 2011.  (Theme: classic recipes of mine, with butternut squash). Also, we eat lentil soup during natural disasters in this family!  
It's just that during some of them, the power actually goes out.
It was dark, but we managed to eat well, & the hound dog & tiger kitten kept us warm. Whiskey helped too.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Butternut Squash #3: In Thai Green Curry With Chicken.

More with the foods, & the making of them, & the continuation of The Great Butternut Squash Food Challenge Of 2011.  
10.28.2011: Butternut Squash Week #3:
 Thai Green Curry with coconut milk, butternut squash, chicken & our garden thai chilis & lemongrass, over basmati rice.
(Note: I did not skip Butternut Squash #2, I just didn't finish the illustrations in order. Not how I roll, numerical order). 
So, another classic recipe of mine, continuing the theme. Curries, all curries, are very high up there for me when it comes to comfort food.  I cook a curry at least three night a week, & I do it differently every time. I've never added winter squash, but it worked well added to a basic version of my Thai Green Curry.
To start, make rice, to be authentic use jasmine, but we tend to buy rice in 20lb bags so usually just have white basmati & some brown short grain on hand. Roasted a split butternut squash in the oven. In a heavy duty sauce pan, start cooking onions, garlic, & chopped chilis (lucky we grew some beautiful thai chilis in the garden this year) in coconut oil. Add some green thai curry paste (I use this one), some curry powder, chopped lemongrass (which we also grew in the garden & currently still have growing in a pot in our kitchen), fresh chopped ginger root, shrimp paste, sriracha & fish oil. I used about a half of a habanero from our garden too, but adjust the spiciness to taste, obviously. I prefer crazy spicy. Throw in chicken pieces & potatoes, make sure they get thoroughly coated with the coconut oil seasoning mixture. Add two cans of coconut milk, then added chopped pre-roasted butternut squash. Cook until squash pretty much dissolves into the coconut milk, serve over rice, & eat. Perfect. 
Note: many of the ingredients in this curry, & also the basic ingredients of my life, are purchased here, at the International Market in Hadley.  
I have been shopping there for about ten years & even though they still feel they need to warn us about food white people won't like, too fishy, too spicy,  (yet we do), I love it there. 
The true genius of curries is that they are so flexible. I made a decent one with chicken thighs, broccoli, 1/2 & 1/2, various spices, chili peppers & potatoes in a cast iron wok the other night exhausted after a long work day & without grocery shopping & I'd rather eat that than most restaurant food & it took very little time or effort, in fact, it really cheered me up.
There in is the beauty of food. 
This particular curry was delicious, by the way, I definitely recommend the squash addition.

Butternut Squash #1: Stuffed, With (Homemade) Sausage & Wild Rice.

& now, back to the cooking! Sorry about all that whining the other day. I've pulled it together, i.e. the house isn't so bad, I did some laundry, I paid the bills, I had a lovely night of wine & food with a lovely friend, & I've actually done quite a bit of watercoloring at the kitchen table.
We bought a bushel of butternut squash for our wedding-you know, you are trying to feed a lot of people cheaply & you live in New England & it's fall, you end up with winter squash. Of course, because we have very helpful & food oriented families, we ended up with way too much food & didn't use the squash.
Forward to about a month after the wedding-we are kind of broke & Owen & I have been driving around with both our cars full of butternut squash for weeks. The only solution was The Great Butternut Squash Food Challenge Of 2011, where we made a new meal out of those pesky car squashes every night for roughly a week instead of buying new ingredients.
10.26.2011: Butternut Squash Week #1: 
Stuffed with our homemade spicy pork sausage, wild rice cooked in homemade duck stock, garden shallots, garlic, & rosemary, lots of butter, & raw milk Parmesan cheese.
This is one of my all-time classic recipes. That was another theme of The Butternut Squash Challenge, classic well loved recipes. Winter squash is really versatile, & lends itself to whatever you feel like cooking already. I invented this for a date, once upon a time ago, I made it at my birthday dinner party two years ago, & I made it for the lovely Melissa last night, because we STILL have stray squashes rolling around in our cars.
Obviously, this works with any squash, & I rather prefer acorns, delicata, or dumplings, but hey, the whole bushels of butternuts was cheaper & it's really pretty much the same.
Split squashes, roast with olive oil. Cook a basic wild rice blend, I like the Lundenberg Organic blend but a mix of short grain brown rice & wild works too, preferably in a poultry basic stock (I like duck stock). Meanwhile saute shallots, garlic, rosemary & herbs de provence in butter & white wine. Add sausage (for this we had some of our first ever batch of homemade sausage). Add rice & more stock. Simmer. Add to squash, cover with cheese, whatever you like, but I like parm or gruyere or swiss. Back in the oven, then eat! Fun times.
Yeah by the way, we have been making our own sausages, thanks to our wedding present Kitchen Aid stand mixer & wedding present meat grinding & sausage stuffing attachments. Just week Owen boned an entire turkey (turkeys are real cheap at Stop & Shop right now) & it became variously flavored turkey sausage. Being poor ain't so bad. 
AS long as you use what you have-i.e. turning cheap meat in awesome sausage & making stock from the bones. 
There you have it-Stuffed Squash, liz style. 
11.4.2011: dog & cat. 
Oh, & that's just a picture of my dog & cat.
For good measure.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

These (Mildly) Difficult Modern Times.

It's been a rather exhausting couple of weeks here at EnD headquarters, i.e. a messy apartment in Northampton. Tons o' work stress, money stress, car stress etc. Blah. I've actually found myself absolutely too tired & cranky to even feel like cooking recently (very unlike me). I miss the garden. I hate when it gets dark at five. I'm sick of every single expense, like toilet paper & toothpaste,  for crying out loud, being a huge deal. I'm sick of not being allowed to get sick or miss any work for any reason because I earn our only income. I'm sick of doing all the cleaning because no one else cares. I don't want to get up at 6am while everyone is sleeping & still come home in the almost dark.
Whine whine whine. Not real problems, I know.
Still, sometimes I feel like maybe it would be cool to not be the one responsible for everyone's survival. I want to call out of work & go to the mall & buy fancy eyeshadow at Sephora & 20 cute dresses at Forever 21.
Sigh. Poor me, I know, I'm stupid. I have no real problems, &
I do have this.
11.4.2011: Dog Cat Husband.
So I guess that although we are pretty broke, my job is pushing me to the limit of reasonable tolerance right now, & the house is really dirty, I get to have this sweet family. & last night I made a really basic chicken & potato curry & felt a little more like myself. Cooking heals many wounds. Note to self: when depressed, purchase some inexpensive but still luxury cooking item (in this case, short grain brown rice & chicken thighs). Then cook dinner. Possibly listen to the Mountain Goats even though my husband hates them. Repeat.
I look forward to Thanksgiving. & I've seen some mad crazy gorgeous sunsets en route to work lately, so I guess that's also something.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bacon Honeymoon (or bacon makes a good thing even better).

You know. It's always all about bacon around here. Even on my honeymoon, apparently.
We received, at least for us, a very fitting wedding present, which was the use of a beautiful house in a breathtaking setting in which we could spend a week with just us & our sweet hound dog. We have never lived together without at least two & sometimes four roommates. Alone time is very valuable to us. We love to cook, we love hiking & mountains, & therefore being out in the woods with a fabulous kitchen at our disposal & a fireplace & a mountain in the backyard was pretty much perfect (thanks deb & cate!).
September 2011: The Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich + Gift Lasagna. 
Some people would take their wedding cash & go out to eat, but we didn't. We were really excited about being alone in our own (temporary) house for once. Our own house is our biggest dream right now. so, yeah, cooking by ourselves! ! ! That said, we hate to waste food, so we didn't go crazy grocery shopping. Basically, we started with wedding leftovers (onions, potatoes, butternut squash, crackers, cheese, eggs, & butter) & we locally purchased really good bacon, a steak, broccoli, & bagels.
Two themes immediate emerged: the need for a serious breakfast if you begin every day hiking up a mountain with your dog, & lasagna, which a very sweet wedding guest (thanks jim!) brought us for "the cabin." (it really wasn't a cabin, it was a gorgeous six bedroom redone farmhouse that even Martha would be jealous of.)
So we, discovered bacon, parmesan, & onions on a bagels is a seriously kickass breakfast sandwich.
I consider a good breakfast sandwich a life staple. Eggs & meat & cheese on a bagel please me. 
& although we didn't actually want to bring the lasagna with us (all we wanted to do was cook) there was definitely a night (after a long adventure in New Hampshire auto mechanics & pouring rain) that we were very content to curl up by the fire & reheat that thing. Obviously, we were unable to resist making it a lot better with additional cheese, broccoli, ample garlic, & of course bacon. I really can't totally not cook.
So, yeah, our honeymoon, bacon, mountains, dogs. That happened.
Oh, did you hear we in Western Massachusetts had a serious snowstorm before Halloween & the power went out everywhere for days & days? Next: EnD cooks breakfast sandwiches on a propane burner in the snowy driveway. True story.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Honeymoon: Wine & Cheese & Love & Gorgeousness.

Greetings, y'all. Happy Fall, officially the favorite season here at EnD. Fall is the season of cooking, so hopefully, as promised, I will get back on the drawing horse & show you some of mine. Starting with this quick glimpse from my fall.
9.26.2011: Jackson, New Hampshire, First Night Of Our Honeymoon.
Oh yeah, we got married.
Turns out planning & having a wedding is a lot of work, if you are into making everything by hand like us, & Hurricane Sunday was the last time I picked up my sketchbook until it was all over. Our wedding was like something beyond our wildest dreams, & maybe someday I'll process it enough to make some art about it.
But for now, a moment from the first night of our honeymoon in Jackson, New Hampshire, sitting outside in the last sunlight of a perfect late September New England afternoon, listening to the brook running behind the incredible house where we were staying & the wind rustling the leaves in the trees.
We drove all day from Cape Cod to the White Mountains, unpacked the car & went straight to the terrace where we enjoyed some of our fine wedding presents: a really good bottle of New Zealand Marlbourgh Sauvingon Blanc (actually that was a birthday present-my birthday was the day before our wedding) & an assortment of cheese from Murrry's (A cooler of cheese! what a wedding present!)& leftover crackers from the reception.
We both got out of the car & said at the same time: "Let's sit outside with drinks & snacks!" We have a terrible yard here in Noho. Up there on our list for a future idea house is a nice place to sit outside in the evening & talk & have a glass of wine & read & or draw or whatever.  My favorite Cape Cod meals all take place on the deck over looking the lake & I want that for myself someday.
I guess that's why I keep holding on to this blog, even though I terribly neglect it mostly & the general idea of drawing my meals, even though I really have no time & I feel guilty about doing this with it sometimes: it preserves beautiful moments like that one: Wine & cheese, an amazingly breathaking place, a brand new husband, & a hound dog tied to a bench going crazy with the joy of all the new wild New Hampshire smells.
Well, I'll try to spend more time on this blog. At least finish the wedding story. There was an abundance of my favorite things: good food, family, friends, wine, beaches, & of course dogs. Thanksgiving is coming up & obviously that is the sacred holiday of EnD. In fact, last year we spent Thanksgiving in the same house where we spent our honeymoon, & I just found those unfinished drawings this morning.
But right now my husband (amazing!) is cooking me a chicken pot pie in our kitchen, & I'm gonna go draw him do it.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Spring Cape Cod Breakfast: Hangar B, Chatham.

More from the (sort of, maybe) hurricane. Being home all afternoon is rare for me, so I've been taking advantage of the weather, cleaning off my desk & paging through my sketchbooks. Apparently I have some catching up to do.
Here's one moment I found: a breakfast, on Cape Cod, early June, rainy Saturday, at the surprisingly (why surprisingly? Because we are both really good cooks & live in Massachusetts & have developed low restaurant expectations in general I guess) excellent Hangar B. 
6.11.2011: Breakfast in Chatham. 
I had a smoked salmon, goat's cheese & arugula omelet, with avocado slices & fried potatoes & toast & Owen had the famous Red Flannel Hash (Beets, Yukon Gold Patoes, Sweet Potatoes, Bacon), with toast & poached egggs & horseradish creme fraiche.
Mine was brilliant anyway, but the avocado slices but it over the top. Owen's was the best use of beets I have ever tasted. The toast was homemade & wonderful & there was housemade jam too. Good potatoes (which is both very important in a breakfast & not as common as you'd think).
I'm very into going out to breakfast as a thing & this meal made it into my Top Three Restaurant Breakfast List. It didn't quite beat out the amazing breakfast sandwich at the Sunny Point Cafe in Asheville, NC but comes in second before brunch at the The Green Bean & I do love the Green Bean,
Despite the rain, it was a lovely Cape Cod Saturday. After breakfast, we drove to the beach & collected seaweed & shells for our garden in a torrential downpour.
Standing on a beach on the bay on Cape Cod in red boots & a dress in pouring rain with someone you love & a hound dog, holding a bucket of ocean matter, after a really good breakfast is the kind of moment that makes for a satisfying life, I believe.
Here, in Northampton, in the present, the sun just came out.

Hurricane Soup. Or Tropical Depression Soup?

See, I promised I'd be back with some actual food! & what better occasion than Hurricane Irene Sunday, here on the East Coast. After days of Hurricane Drama, by yesterday around here it seemed like just about time to give in, purchase provisions (i.e. wine & beer, food & novels), & get ready to stay home. Last night we got prepared by making a giant lentil soup, the purpose of which was to cook as many things in the fridge as possible in case we lost power today (which we didn't, by the way).
8.28.2011: Hurricane (Lentil & Sausage) Soup.
Into the trusty giant white cast iron enamel pot went chicken apple sausage, lentils, onions, garlic, potatoes, ginger, leftover chicken, chicken stock from the same chicken, the last of our garden atomic red & purple haze carrots, & lots of cumin. Since this took a while to cook, while waiting we also consumed the last of the amazing Stop & Shop frozen appetizers we purchased on a recent late night trip, the silly kind where one might by tempted by such items as mac n' cheese triangles & jalapeno poppers. Then we went dancing in the rain.
All in all it's been a pretty good hurricane. My work was delightfully cancelled, & nothing bad happened other than it was kind of anticlimatic I guess.
But it's very cozy here at home, & Owen is brewing beer in the kitchen while I get reacquainted with my blog & listen to Amanda Palmer in our room. We walked the dog over to check out the rather dramatically high Mill River, we addressed the last of our wedding invitations, & we thought it a perfect occasion to drink wine in the afternoon. Even thought the part of my soul that loves storms was secretly looking for a little action, I learned in New Orleans to not play around with hurricanes, so I'm really very happy with how today turned out. Always marry the guy you can spend a perfect hurricane with, that's what I say.

We Now Return After Our Summer Hiatus.

I suppose that I should just accept it, since this happens every year on this blog. All winter long I paint soups & meat & then spring comes & I get excited about painting vegetables all summer, & summer comes & I subsequently spend all my time outside & lose interest in indoor projects entirely. I am always so innocent, in May, planning all the gorgeous tomatoes I'm gonna paint, & instead I just eat the tomatoes & go swim with the hound dog in the river.
I guess in the future, let's make a deal-we will agree to take the summer off for garden time here at EnD, & meet up again in the fall in time to cook the first of the autumn squash harvest. Done.
Oh, & I guess there is another reason on top of gardening & swimming & enjoying summer that the blog has not crossed my mind in about four months.
Invite: Liz & Owen 2011.
Yup, Owen & I are getting married, in about four weeks. Hence, lots of time spent gluing glitter to things, & less spent on watercolors & collages & blogs. Apparently when one decides to get married, a bulk glitter & glue purchase at Michael's is required.
As befits us, being us, we & our families are providing all the food ourselves, so if I get any breaks from covering tiny fake birds with spray adhesive & glitter, I'll try to draw some of it (no promises). If I were you, I'll expect my wedding posts to show up on this blog sometime next January when I suddenly find myself with a lot of snow related free time on my hands.
But all that aside, we are having a semi-hurricane in Massachusetts, I have an expected day off, & fall & fall cooking is just around the corner. So I'd say EnD is back. I mean, right now I should be working on our bridal registry & instead I'm doing this, that's a good sign, right?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend Meat Fest.

Look, I finally managed a timely holiday post! EnD, live from Memorial Day Weekend 2011!
I don't generally get three day weekends off, & I didn't this one either, but still I like to be festive. It was 90 degrees almost all weekend & I have definitely been ready & waiting to celebrate a weekend truly summer style, with, obviously, lots o' meat products.
Bacon Many Ways: Memorial Day Weekend 2011. 
Friday night we got old fashioned & grilled burgers in the driveway behind my 1989 Toyota Cressida (homemade bacon sausage cheddar jalapeno burgers using leftover ground bacon sausage we conveniently had lying around). Sitting on the hood of an old car at dusk drinking PBR & cooking meat. Sigh. Good times.
Then Sunday night dinner with Izaac rolled around, & that always means something special. A bacon weave wrapped around ground steak & then deep fried, bacon & collards, & garlic roasted marrow bones & toast, in this case. & the champagne of beers, since it was a holiday, after all.
Besides eating bacon, I cleaned off the front porch & hauled a table & chairs out there, & that's where I did this drawing just now, mojito in hand. The dog & I swam in the river, I planted dragon beans & repotted lots of tomatoes, & I spent as much time as possible in the sun. It's currently Monday afternoon, the dog is passed out exhausted from all the fun (he enjoyed a lot of marrow bone activity last night) & I am going to take advantage of more good porch time.
The drawing happens to complete this particular sketchbook, begun last November with these drawings.
Here's to opening my new sketchbook & another season of eating & drawing.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tabloid Portraits #1: Bret, LiLo & A Shout Out To Magazines.

This post has nothing to do with food. Zero. If you are a dedicated food reader only, go to the archives, or come back later.
I repeat, nothing about cooking here, except in the rather roundabout way where last night I had dinner simmering on the stove & was waiting for Owen to come home from work at the restaurant. 
Note: our kitchen table is currently (frequently) covered in trashy celebrity magazines, thanks both to my lovely co-worker who donates me hers & to my own personal difficulty in resisting the lure of the magazine rack at the 7-11. Also present on the EnD table: ample food magazines & piles of New Yorkers (family lifelong subscription). If you are old fashioned & still enjoy print media, please come on over to our house.
I was having a pleasant time listening to the Silver Jews & drinking wine & messing around in my sketchbook.
As I do, I got to drawing. Normally, I do this with my magazines, but sometimes I like to mix things up. 
"I'm Glad To Be Here/Living In Fear"
 "Wasted Again"
Maybe painting a portrait of Bret Michaels indicates that I have too much time on my hands. IDK. I did grow up in the 80's. I though Poison was pretty great when I was ten.The reality show/stardom thing does confuse me a bit though.
I have been known to fixate on celebrities, if they are the good ones. (I think I summed up what I mean by that here). But my great love of magazines & a print media isn't about that, really. I've always been an old school magazine reading kind of girl. Take that internet! I wish this blog was a zine (yup, I did attend high school in the early 90's.)
Magazines: you can cut them up, you can hang the pictures up on the wall, I find them way easier to draw from than the internet, you can read them in the bath or on the beach or on a boat or any other place you wouldn't bring a laptop, you can write in the margins, you can draw mustaches on people, you can photocopy them & use them for silkscreens, you can make wallpaper... What the hell can you do with an internet page, exactly.
Celebrity news means nothing to me if I can't involve scissors & glue somehow.
That's the collage artist in me, but that's also the reader. Of books with pages. & the general object-loving thrift storing hoarder that I am.
Here's to thanking Christ that we don't live in a completely virtual world yet.
I like it tangible & messy.
(Oh & thanks Amy for the Stars).

Monday, May 23, 2011

Remember DnD?

I know y’all do. Home of so much past brilliance.
So... last Friday night Jed of Drinking & Drawing fame made a special appearance back in Noho at the EnD kitchen. & Owen, in Jed's honor, made an insane meat concoction. How insane? Well, he started with sausages & bacon in a cast iron skillet, poured the grease into the deep fryer, ground the meat in our trusty meat grinder (a free pile find), battered them in cornmeal, & deep fried them in our trusty deep fryer (a $2 Hospice Shop find).
5.13.2011: Friday the 13th with Jed & Pabst. 
All accompanied by ample PBR, aka the official beer of DnD. (although we do enjoy others). There was dancing, there was the Deuce, there was an after-party, there were the bizarre snacks Jed brought us back from his recent trip to Korea, consumed at 4am. Sounds like DnD.
Since Owen & I have become tame, early rising, stay at home, dog owning people, this night was much needed & appreciated but required some recovery the next day.
5.14.2011: Rainy Saturday Night Dinner.
 Otherwise known as "Recovery Dinner." When you, well ok, I, am rather hungover from a 4am+ kind of night, & then get caught in the rain on a walk with my hound dog, I like to turn to my comfort foods. This time, mashed potatoes were on my mind. Post-rain storm & soaking wet, I mostly wanted to cuddle on the couch with Walty & read trashy novels all night, so I felt like throwing something delicious into my beloved red Le Creuset baking dish & leaving it in the oven for a while. Third source of inspiration? Being in dire need of a vegetable after last night's fried meat fest, also in need of a touch of flavor complexity.
Hence, Miso Chili Ginger Baked Tofu, Cheesy Garlic Mashed Potatoes, & Kale Sauted with Garlic & Cumin Seed.
It was pretty good. EnD, your source for hangover tips. Three cheers to the whole weekend. Jed, come visit again soon.
& Hey everyone, in case you were wondering, it is still raining here...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Asparagus City. Population: Lentil Soup.

What? Ok, I am taking liberties with my titles. The asparagus has nothing to do with lentil soup. Nothing at all.  Except for being part of my early morning random train of thought when I was first writing this post.
Maybe I have mentioned-I am ready to eat fresh food. I can really get into the whole winter thing-big heavy meat dishes roasted in the oven, ducks & lamb, pot roasts & whole chickens, curries, the "coming in from the cold Sunday dinner" food that one doesn’t even think about in August. Last year we were a lot better at preserving our garden food than ever before, so all winter there were also little bursts of summer goodness-canned salsa & tomato sauce, green tomato pickles, pickled jalapenos, homemade chili paste & habanero hot sauce.
But now it’s May & I want to taste different things. We are having a rainy spring week, so last night it was back to soup (curried red lentil) & coziness but even my taste in soup is changed as spring progresses- a little less meat (although by no means none! hells no!), more flavor, more brightness. I topped the lentil soup with fried ginger root, herbed goat chevre & arugula pesto, & daydreamed about my future thai basil patch in the garden & when that will be my garnish.
 5.16.2011: Red Lentil Soup.
 A few notes regarding this soup (as this is a food blog after all): Adding the arugula pesto was kind of a crazy idea, but we had some leftover from this meal. We keep ample homemade chicken stock on hand in the freezer (when I roast a chicken I always make stock-chicken fat is a terrible thing to waste), & I personally find that in lentil soup, a good chicken stock is essential. & the fried ginger root-well, I learned a few things from my more than ten years of subscribing to Martha Stewart Living & that lentil soup garnish was one of them. That & the fact that an immersion blender is nice to have on hand when making soup. Thank you, Martha.
So the "food grown in the ground outside relatively near where I live" season is only just beginning. What do we have? Well, here in the Pioneer Valley we do have local Hadley asparagus for a very brief, delightful season, & I realize that forgetting to give it a nod would be a terrible error.
Fresh asparagus is best super simple, so this is more of a celebration than a recipe. Olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper. That is all you need, well a good cast iron skillet helps too.
We had it over pappardelle noodles with cheese. We had it with a fried egg on top. We had it with pumpkin seeds thrown into the mix. We had it with grilled eggplant in a burrito made up from the burrito topping leftovers.
May 2011: Hadley Asparagus Season. 
 What else? The leftover lentil soup made a very good lunch. It is well after 9pm & I have yet to eat my own dinner tonight, so I should think about that. Walt prefers that we NOT eat vegetables, but we do anyway. I like spring rain & am not sick of it yet; I am however sick of people complaining about the rain. IT ALWAYS RAINS A LOT IN MAY HERE. Let it ago. At least the temperature is remaining steadily above 50. This date on various years marks the day of both my parents' birth & of my grandparents wedding anniversary. So May 17th is a pretty cool day.
Some miscellaneous thoughts from EnD. Hey, why have a blog if I can't share this stuff sometimes? Eat your asparagus.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Summer Preview: Burrito Night.

We have lately been having these great summer-eqse days, bright hot sun, perfect for afternoons in the garden, getting sunburned & tricking oneself into believing that it is July. But of course, it isn't, it is May in Massachusetts. Right now it is 50 & raining & will apparently stay this way for the next five days.  
There is a while to go before pleasures such as swimming & sunbathing & eating garden tomatoes, for example. I love this rainy May weather too, but I'm just saying, one can get addicted to 70+ afternoons gardening in the sunshine. (With a hound dog napping on your napa cabbages). The problem is, after one of those afternoons, a girl wants actual GARDEN FOOD. & no luck yet, most things are just tiny baby seedlings. 
We have got some radishes, spinach, garlic greens, but we are a while from tomato basil city. 
What to eat then, leaving the garden muddy & delightfully hot & looking for satisfaction? On this particular Saturday, BURRITOS. 
First, I will admit upfront that I am a burrito snob. I am a Californian goddammit & you just don't get food like George's Drive-In here. You don't. Ali? Are I not right? That shit was off the hook. 
Every time I give in & try a burrito place here on this coast that's supposed to be "just so great, so authentic" I am deeply disappointed. Not naming names, but really, sorry Noho. Massachusetts does not equal burritos. Taqueria Cancun, Pancho Villa oh where are you? Oh right, still in San Francisco where you belong. I'm the impulsive idiot who moved back to New England & left all that food bounty behind.
5.7.11: Pre Summer Burrito Night.
I seem to have a lot complaints here. I'm not intending to. Describing what led to the creation of  a meal gets complicated sometimes (food shapes our lives). 
To simplify: it was unseasonably hot, we built raised beds out of mulberry lumber all day, & I wanted a good burrito. (Because I am a burito snob & never get one unless I make it myself). 
So, we broke the "no food out of season, especially tomatoes" rule & went to Stop & Shop & bought tomatoes & cilantro & avocados. Oh well. At least everything we needed cost next to nothing by some reduced produce miracle. Cause you know we are CHEAP.
I think both my summer produce longing & my burrito angst both come down to salsa, truly. Good salsa. Homemade salsa. Why why buy salsa? & Why is the salsa at any random hole in the wall place in Cali so divine & the salsa anyplace here tomato water? Why?
So yeah, I was reasonably tan for the first time in a year & I broke down & bought crap grocery out of season tomatoes & made my own salsa, to eat on a giant burrito (I make great salsa, FYI). Whatever. It still was delicious, helped along greatly by a jar of pickled jalapenos from last year's garden that I recently found in the back of the fridge.  Ah, the magical joys of food preservation. Better than unicorns.
They were steak burritos, with pinto beans & onions, grilled red peppers, homemade guacamole & salsa, chopped lettuce, fresh cilantro, sour cream, cheese, & of course, tortilla chips & Mexican beer (Dos Equis). 
Tons of leftovers, so I ate one wrapped in aluminum foil at work for lunch the next day & also felt like I was back in SF, heading out for lunch in the Mission (Sigh. ALMOST). 
This is the food one wants to eat when sunburned & pleasantly exhausted & starving from gardening. 
Things are just gonna get better. Our tomato plants are in the ground, people (one each of every heirloom variety we could order on the internet, & lots of the regular ones too).  Our basil & peppers seedlings are started. We are actually beginning to enjoy the delicious, incomparable pleasure of eating food we grew.
Bring it on, Summer!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Radishes Have Arrived. & Been Eaten.

Now this is what I am talking about. A rainy Sunday afternoon in May, a trip to the garden to plant turnip seeds in a light drizzle, & acquire a fresh bunch of gorgeous, gorgeous radishes, Easter egg, French Breakfast, all bright red & purple & so beautiful against the damp green day.
To take it up a notch, when we got home it turned out that Owen had been growing arugula quite successfully behind our bookcase (don’t ask) so dinner was suddenly a quite delightful proposition. 
We have been on a kale kick lately-I think because I am in terrible need of green food & kale is cheap. Also, after a lifetime of considering it one of my least favorite leafy greens, Owen won me over. 
Grilled steak, sauted kale, chopped fresh radishes, topped with a arugula pesto sauce (one of my favorite things). 
5.15.2011: Arugula & Radish Rainy Dinner.
Garlicy, sharp, a little spicy, texture flavor color-for a random unplanned dinner, this meal really rocked. Go us.
& Then on to Karaoke at Bishop's Lounge in a downpour with the fabulous Matt D. & Melissa.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Wings (A Cape Cod Spring Holiday).


Happy Easter/Passover/Spring.
I am very fond of the Easter holiday, it is very aesthetically pleasing to me. Bunnies, Jesus, pastels, eggs, all very good. That said, this year I didn't really get it together to do anything about all that. No egg dying, I didn't wear a cute pink dress, & I haven't cooked rabbit since November
But we did have family, dogs, sticky wings, lots of good bread & butter, & a Cape Cod beach storm, aka an early Diamond family Easter.
4.23.2011: An Early Cape Cod Family Easter Dinner (With Dogs).
I had to work on Easter itself, & didn't really mind, since I very much appreciate all the ceremony & trappings of holidays, but also know that they don't really matter, in the sense that I can work all day on Easter in a pink dress then go & dig in the garden & enjoy that as holiday festivities (what I did last Easter). Plus I hate ham (is it the half-Jewish part of me?) Ham is great thinly sliced on a sandwich with the correct condiments, but an whole ham? One of the only, perhaps actually the only,  meat to which I say, yuck.
So the Diamond/Williams family (minus DR, who was missed but prefers not to travel, being a cat) packed up the car & drove to the family home on Cape Cod, stayed Friday night through Saturday night, & enjoyed the following pleasures: an early Easter dinner of Mum's sticky wings, roasted brussels sprouts, herbed mashed potatoes & French bread, an early Easter breakfast of cinnamon raisin bread & hard boiled eggs, both with the excellent bread from the French bakery in Wellfleet, collecting seaweed & shells on the beach in Harwich the pouring rain, Griswold cast-iron pan acquiring thrifting, Barb's Neiman Marcus chocolate chip cookies, & most importantly (or maybe most adorably?) a meeting of the dogs, Walty our hound meets Mum & Barb's Jack Russell terrier/beagle/dauschound? mix (we don't know what she is, just like Walt, but she looks like a tiny yellow lab pretty much-just imagine a full-gown high energy 14 lb lab with a terrier brain & a tendency for snuggling & here's Sophie), an awesome recent addition to the family. Walt & Sophie ran on the beach, rough housed, chewed on each others toys, leap off furniture, begged for food, cuddled on couches, lay by the fire, & overall had a stunningly good time. Yay dogs!
We drove back to Noho late Saturday night. 
On actual Easter, I worked, & then in a light warm rain, Owen, Walt & I foraged for fiddleheads by the river in the early evening, came home, I talked to my grandparents on the phone, ate steak & mustard greens, appreciated being alive & all the good thing I have, watched tv in bed & fell asleep. Where was the Easter bunny? I do not know.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Snapshot In Leftovers (The Bento Post, Sort Of).

A couple of thoughts-lately I have been on a campaign to improve my life in small ways. One way of actualizing this has been my work lunches. One of my core beliefs has to do with avoiding convenience food, well really unnecessary convenience itself-why not do things yourself & do them well rather than buy a cheap, quicker, lesser version (blah blah blah yes I hate fast food & most restaurants really, I am a do-it-yourself-kind of gal). & of course I am generally pretty broke. I work in a grocery store, where it is easy to spend money on food everyday, but I have been successfully strict for a while now about bringing my lunch always, the problem is frequently I am lazy before bed & my lunch is therefore lame, lots of random crap from the fridge thrown into tupperware with no style or taste logic. 
I spend a lot of time in life doing things that take work because I value the outcome, i.e. cooking a decent dinner every night & growing as much food as I can & canning & preserving as much of that as possible. So why not bring this level of value of life to my work lunches? Exactly. 
I have been reading the Adventures in Bentomaking blog for years, & have always been inspired by it, but never acted on it. I've owned this adorable lunch box with cute compartments for years too (free sample from a previous job) but never use it. 
So this week! Adorable Bento-Style lunches! 
The thing is, I draw these imagines & sit down to paint them, & while I am watercoloring, sometimes my mind wanders. So this post to me now is more about leftovers & grocery shopping creatively on a budget, less about my own adventures in Bentos. Still a great blog, though. 
First, Four Recent Bento-esque Lunches. 

What these lunches make me think about is how telling they are of our recent life in food. The great thing about the boxes is that they are tiny, & perfect for small amounts of weird former meals in the fridge that you don't want to throw away but aren't enough for a meal. Seriously, I am really cheap & I hate to throw out food. Why haven't I always been doing this?
So these lunches are a product of the last week of dinners in our lives (& dinners are the emotional heart of this home of course). They create a picture, & this is what it looks like: a cheap giant bag of broccoli from Price Rite, New England Chinese Night based on a super sale at Stop & Shop last week on crab meat & pork, the Stop & Shop sale last month on lamb stew meat that led to lots of lamb in the freezer, a recent trip to the Asian Market for affordable peppers, ginger, lemongrass, & cilantro,  last Saturday's family journey to New Bedford where we picked up good Fall River Linguica on the cheap at Friendly Fruit, & those jars of green tomato pickles in the fridge. 
The Grocery Store really tells you everything you need to know about a person. Equally their leftovers. So here are mine. Judge me as you will.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Blogging With The Windows Open, & Green Times Three.

We had our first 75+ day here in Western Massachusetts, & it was pretty sweet. There's is just something about being actually hot...outside in the early evening walking a hound dog beside a river with a breeze promising warm rain, wearing a t-shirt & a skirt, bare legs, bare arms (but cowboy boots of course). The water expectant with future swimming, the air carrying smells of grilled meat & green things growing. I can't help it, I love hot weather. Living in New Orleans totally ruined me, I like sweating. 
Having the windows open after all these months of winter is a joyful experience. I slept in bliss last night because there was a constant breeze through the open window. & tonight, sitting in the kitchen after having fed the animals, drawing at the kitchen table with a glass of chilled white wine, hearing the random music from the Community Music Center next door, various conversations on the street, smells, & the feel on my skin of that warm, soft breeze. I love air. The worst part of winter is all that time inside.
Oh & the lack of fresh food possibly grown or gathered by oneself! Hey fresh food, you are almost here! Ramps, lettuces, fiddleheads, morels, oh yes! 
& now it has begun to rain. Perfect. One of life's great pleasures=the sound & smell of warm rain with the windows open.
In a spring mood, although the garden is just beginning & the farmers markets haven't started & fiddleheads will be a while yet, I give you three green moments of early spring anticipation.
Green #1. Spring Sunday Dinner (we love Spring Dinners & Sunday Dinners!)(& dogs & cats): 
4.3.11: Cilantro/Almond Pesto with Hot Italian Sausage & Peperoncini over Pappardelle.

I really love Cilantro Pesto. Very spring tasting, even if it's too early to grow it yet. So what, at least the bundle I used cost a dollar at the Asian Market. But Cilantro Pesto, check it out, made just like any Pesto, use any nuts, any cheese, olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper, a bunch of cilantro, you're there. & like Arugula Pesto, this is a good one to make spicy & add peppers or hot sauce. I wouldn't make it for my Grampa though. 
Green #2: Recently buried in the back of the fridge I found several large Mason Jars of Spicy Green Tomato Pickles we pickled last fall at the end of our huge garden tomato crop. I guess they got forgotten back there in the fridge, but wow I just found them the other night & they are delicious.
We just mostly pickled them like they were cucumbers: sliced green (unripe green, not green heirloom) Mason Jar, allspice, mustard seed, garlic, coriander, cumin, whatever, salt, pepper & vinegar, & added some habaneros we also had in excess from the garden. These guys are really pretty great, also coming in handy for my new project, Bento Box Lunches For Work, inspired by this fabulous blog. (stay tuned).
September 2010-April 2011: Spicy Green Tomato Pickles From Last Year's Garden. 
& finally, Green #3: 
April 2011: A Sketch of Our Future 2011 Garden.
We have an additional plot there this year, so if all goes well, twice the food (If only we could somehow fit in chickens & a goat, maybe a sheep, maybe a cow, we could realize our dream of not buying food). We have tiny radishes, beets, & cabbages growing there. Chard & carrot seeds are planted (Bright Lights for the chard & Purple Haze & Atomic Red for the carrots). A gentle spring rain is falling on them right now. 
We will be eating radish & lettuce salads from the garden before we know it. & drawing them, & swimming. & sleeping with the windows open all the time. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

One For The Dog People: Introducing Walt. Plus Lentils & Cumin.

As I mentioned, a little more than a month or so, we added a new family member to the EnD household:
Walt the Hound, February 2011. 
Walt's feline sister, the country singing grey tiger cat DustyRose, has always been an important presence on this blog, as she is in my art, & my life. Walt is turning out to be an equally unique & fabulous animal, clearly the world's best dog to go with the world's best cat (or maybe I'm slightly biased? IDK, they are both seriously goodlooking & complete sweethearts).
Like DR, Walt turns out to be an excellent drawing companion,
Walt sleeping while I paint, 2.21.11
 & Walty, A Sleepy Hound With A Tennis Ball, 3.29.11
There is something about a pile of sleeping animals in sight while working that has because a required studio element for me, like my preferred sketchbook, Pilot V-5 pens, the right music (usually the Mountain Goats), & a glass of cheap white wine. To get real work done, I need my pets. They give good solid feedback. Or they love me unconditionally & are cute. Whichever.
 In a nod to remembering that this is supposed to be a food/art blog (whatever that means) & not a "my pets are cute" blog, a drawing of what the humans ate on Walty's first night as a resident of South Street (Walt ate dog food & bacon & Tator Tots, of course).
2.18.11: Lentils, Onions, & Broccoli, Over Potatoes Roasted in Olive Oil & Cumin (Walt's First Night). 
So yeah, we have a dog now, it's pretty great. We also have twice, maybe eventually three times the garden space as last year. & we just actually cleaned the apartment. Other than the generally wretched weather, Spring 2011 is shaped up pretty positive so far.
Yes, we love cats. But we also love dogs. Wait for the drawings from the dog park. & Walt sleeping at our garden plot, also good. We also also recently acquired four Koi, so maybe I'll draw the fish too. & the baby plants! The world is my drawing oyster. & hopefully soon we are on Cape Cod eating actual oysters!
Or maybe I'll actually cook something & draw that. You never know. Eating & Drawing & Gardening & Pets?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hot Dogs & Hound Dogs.

Happy Spring!
A few random images, thoughts, meals, opinions, what have you. 
First, we fairly recently acquired a spectacularly great hound dog, Walt, a red-brown & white spotted coonhound/pointer mix. On Walt's first night here on South Street, we brillantly left a plate of Tator Tots & bacon on the counter, leftover from our nervous "are we getting a dog today?!" breakfast (we had him on hold over night at Dakin to decide. Of course we were getting him.) This moment will always be special to me, because he hadn't shown much post-shelter-experience personality yet, so Walty on his hind legs at the kitchen counter eating bacon & Tator Tots off a plate with huge enthusiasm & a giant grin, was kind of wonderful. A Limoges china plate, no less. Ah dogs. He's a food hound. Remind me to draw him with his face in a 5lb bag of sugar on the couch after being left alone for three minutes.
2.19.11: Walt's First Night. 
They were Price Rite generic Tator Tots, a brief new weakness of ours. But although the Tator Tots were trash food, Price Rite actually rules. Holier than thou co-op shoppers should really check out their produce section. Happily, we are getting really close to the season where we can grow all our own produce again, but the Chicopee Price Rite & their gorgeous & low priced jalapenos & ginger & chard has really helped me through this winter.
On that note, I have a confession. I really am kind of a food snob, in my own way. Let me explain. Although I have my weaknesses (you know, Price Rite generic Tator Tots or Cheeseburger flavored Doritos), I really am against processed food. It's not an indulgence or diet thing, not at all, because I cook everything in bacon grease or chicken fat, but I guess I just like to know my own indulgences, i. e. that chicken fat from the chicken I roasted the other night, not mystery ingredients. If I am going to eat a ton of fat, why not eat straight good slab bacon, not a McDonald's thing? I annoy the hell out of my dear partner, but I really don't like to eat fast food. I like to save money, but a fast food sandwich still costs more than the bacon scraps we sell at work, so whatever. 
However, one night last March, in the grips of New England March depression (when will the snow truly stop! Snow forecasted for this weekend!), like what's happening now, pretty much, my dear boyfriend did convince me to buy a package of hot dogs & we ate this for dinner.
3.11.2010: Hot Dogs, Mac N' Cheese, & Broccoli. 
At that point, we were still using up a case of free expired stupidly organic mac n' cheese any way we could (don't worry, we threw out the cheese packet, & made our own cream sauce. That's essential). But it was a glum March day & we were walking by the Mill River, & Owen said "Hot Dogs & Mac & Cheese for dinner!!!" & I agreed. That's love. 
I won on the broccoli though. Broccoli in a cream sauce. Always good. As good as hot dogs seemed to me when I was five? 
Ask Walt. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Piles Of Noodles, PIles Of Opinions.

Welcome to my controversial world of noodles. Linguine, fettuccine, elbow macaroni, whatvever, noodles have also been one of my favorite things to draw. Long long long before I had a food blog I was painting piles of noodles everywhere. For example, this classic painting of mine: 
"219", Acrylic on canvas, 2005
So, visually,  I am all about the noodles. Gastronomically, they are actually not my first go to comfort food, or at the least not the classic Italian style pasta variety. I am a chickpea curry girl all the way, or spicy beef & soba. Milkshakes & onion rings, I'm all over that. I believe I have mentioned my opinion on the general American trend of paying way too much money for a large plate of crappy pasta, & eating it in a mall, probably. Why not eat cheap food with some complexity & flavor, a bowl of pho or steamed pork bun? & We all know my Grampa Diamond's strong opinions on red sauce.  I guess it's a family thing. 
That said, there is more to do with a box of fettuccine than dump some jar of sauce from the grocery store over it .  
2.10.10: Homemade Red Sauce, With Bacon, Chicken, & Veggies. 
 3.2.10: Angel Hair, In White Wine & Butter, With Summer Squash, Thyme & Mushrooms. 
I guess behind my ranting & raving ala Anthony Bourdain about the Olive Garden (we actually saw him do this that night) is that both these meals weren't particularly creative, didn't cost much money, hardly took any real time or effort & were delicious. Learn to cook your own food, rather than throwing away money on crappy American chain restaurants, please. Seriously, learn to cook, y'all, at least enough to cook some veggies in butter & olive oil, chop some garlic & onions, & boil water.
This is the lesson in the noodles.
(It is still very much winter, although it is March, I am therefore apparently still cranky). 

Monday, February 28, 2011

Tegan & Sara, & Noodles & Cake & Friends.

A little more than a year ago, two out of the ordinary events occurred on one winter night in Northampton: Tegan & Sara played at the Calvin Theatre, & someone besides Owen made me dinner.
Yes, last February, Melissa, Ashley, & I had tickets to see Tegan & Sara, & Melissa made Ashley & I dinner (Penne, Red Sauce), I brought the wine (of course) & Ashley brought a chocolatey thing from Woodstar.
The first Tegan & Sara album I owned, The Con, I bought on itunes immediately after my hand surgery in late November 2008, & I have very vivid memories of listening to it in an intense sort of way, tucked in bed with the laptop, vaguely pleasantly high on oxycodone & watching the snow out the window. Staying in bed after surgery gives one plenty of alone time to think, & all the details of those memories are really clear. Made for an interesting show, I guess.
2.12.10: Noodles, Wine & Cake at Melissa's, Tegan & Sara at the Calvin.
This blog did use to be a lot more about rock music, I guess I used to go out more. Back when it was just me & the cat, before we decided (mutually) to add a boyfriend & a dog into the family. It's still about rock music in the sense that it is very difficult for me to paint or write without music, but maybe I should see go see more shows.
Owen & I saw the Corin Tucker Band at the Iron Horse back in the fall, if I can remember what we ate first I'll try to draw that one, because that show was amazing. Sleater-Kinney! Rules!
(Ashley is from Oregon, so somehow this train of thought makes sense?)
Don't worry though, Owen, Ali, Katie & I have tickets for Loretta Lynn this Saturday, & that's sure to be an art piece. Hopefully that show begins with a lovely meal with lovely people like this one did.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Winter 2010, In Random Dinners.

I'm still in a similar mental place to my last post, still feeling archivey, still hiding out in our room, still digging around in the old sketchbooks & rediscovering memories through drawings. Winter is still totally kicking my ass, so my motivation for complicated projects & exciting new recipes is low.
What has been keeping me going throughout these last (hopefully) weeks of horrible snowy icy slushy winter (spring! gardens! soon!) has been just the appreciation of our everyday life here, that we make time to cook & eat dinner together even when it's complicated, even when we hate each other, that we collect objects we like & live in a space that however cluttered & messy looks like us, that we have sweet sweet animals, good kitchen stuff & a cozy home.
Last winter was our first few months of really living together, so these pages of my sketchbook are especially sweet to me.
It is really feeling right now that Winter 2011 is never ever going to end, so to give us hope, some moments from Winter 2010, which did end eventually, becoming this.
1.11.10: Black Bean Chicken Chili.

1.13.2010: Scallops & Noodles.
1.19.10: Sausages & Peppers & Spinach & Whiskey Shots.
1.12.2010: Thyme & Shallot Salmon Fillet, With Broccoli & Cheese.
3.7.10: Weird Curry Stir-Fry.
Sometimes I just want to leave the pictures here by themselves, because to me, the specific details alone mean so much.
We ate this on this date, & it looked like this. That comforts me, when life seems bizarre & overwhelming, I guess just like actually cooking food does.
Would anyone care about that? Does anyone care anyway? When I was in art school I kept a very specific food I ate journal in my sketchbook, maybe I should just start posting those.
But I love those pages, when I look back, even as I laugh at how pretentious I was. Sometimes I can feel the specific moment, smell it, taste it, just from reading those lists.
Damn this blog is getting verbal!
I'll try to dig myself out of this hole soon, the potential of this sort of meal will help, but I have a few more of these style posts planned for the next month or so, then it's garden time.