poor scientist. will blog 4 food.

the culinary adventures of a self-described foodie


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Back on the CSA Wagon!

When we moved in October, we put the CSA on hold for what we thought would be a short hiatus… which turned into a 5 month break from locally grown veggie boxes. I’ve got a litany of excuses, but mostly we were just lazy. Actually, one decent excuse we had was that we spent a bit of time looking around at other CSAs. As much as we loved Eatwell’s practices and farm events, we weren’t always 100% happy with what we got in terms of variety and quality. So, after much searching, we decided on Full Belly Farm. One thing that convinced me to go with them is a quick survey of their farm using Google satellite maps. (Don’t you just love technology??) Much like Eatwell, you can actually SEE the diversity of the Full Belly Farm just by the variety of colors and different width rows of vegetation. Also, we’ve heard lots of good things about Full Belly’s produce. Finally, the price is right! We are paying only $16 a box with Full Belly, compared to Eatwell’s $27. We get a bit less food as well, but that’s not always a bad thing, especially in the winter when we used to get bags and bags of greens. Don’t get me wrong — I love greens, just not 2-3 servings per meal.

We’ve gotten 3 boxes from Full Belly so far, and we’ve been quite happy with the produce. Our boxes have included navel oranges, butternut squash, leeks, beets, kale, lettuce, the cutest little cabbages I’ve ever seen, broccoli, fennel, celery root, potatoes, lettuce, spinach, arugula, and even popcorn! Full Belly also sells walnuts at a very reasonable price, so we’ll probably be adding those to our next box.

Without further ado, here are the pictures from the last 4 weeks of CSA goodness!

Our first CSA box from Full Belly Farms!

Our first CSA box from Full Belly Farms!

potato and leek soup

Rustic potato and leek soup from The New Best Recipes cookbook. We added bacon = YUM.

Butternut squash veggie soup.

Butternut squash veggie soup. It was a bit bland at first, but I doctored it up with some spices and it got better. TC, the lactose tolerant, added cream, which he thought was really good.

Cabbage and chickpea soup from the Post Punk Kitchen. Really nice.

Cabbage and chickpea soup from the Post Punk Kitchen. Really nice.

Roasted squash (also from the PPK) with a side of cous cous.

Roasted squash (also from the PPK) with a side of cous cous.

Spicy cole slaw from the Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook. Awesome stuff!

Spicy cole slaw from the Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook. Awesome and really quick and easy!

We added the spicy slaw to cod filets and buns from Trader Joe's. We loved these sandwiches so much we made then twice in 2 weeks!

We added the spicy slaw to cod filets and half -baked buns from Trader Joe’s. We loved these sandwiches so much we made then twice in 2 weeks!

 


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Hello 2013!

I realize that we are almost 4 weeks into 2013, but since my Christmas decorations are still up, I think it’s still kosher for me to wish everyone a happy new year! And also because this is my first post of 2013.

So how has everyone’s year gone so far? Mine has been very busy. I spent the first week of 2013 visiting family and friends in Maryland. Then, I came back for 4 days, only to head off again to Burbank for 6 days for a work trip. After being home for almost one week, I went away again for a ski trip at Lake Tahoe with my old lab. I had a great time, but I’m definitely happy to be done with traveling for the foreseeable future. 2013 has started out with too much eating out and lingering holiday indulging. Must get back to cooking, STAT!

Speaking of cooking, my friend and former colleague DS cooked some truly gourmet and memorable meals during the ski trip. I shall leave you with the following images to give you a glimpse of the deliciousness of it all. Enjoy!

dinner

Dinner #1! Clockwise from top left: crusty bread, arugula and roasted beet salad with shaved fennel in orange vinaigrette; green beans, mashed potatoes, and roasted halibut with mushroom and caramelized onion reduction.

dinner

Dinner #2! Montreal style aged brisket with homemade sauerkraut and cabbage salad, cucumber and dill salad, french fries, and rye bread. This was the best brisket I’ve ever had — very tender and juicy!

Kirkwood

It wouldn’t be a ski trip without some actual skiing! After not skiing at all last season, it was good to hit the slopes again.


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Birthday Lunch at Mustards Grill

I hate to be that blogger that starts every post with an apology, but here it goes: I am sorry that I have been almost absent from this blog for the past few months. Even though I think it’s perfectly normal for blogs to ebb and flow, it makes me wonder why I have this blog when I have such a lag between posts. I’ve considered ending this blog, but I do feel like I have something to say every once in a while.  So, for any readers out there that have stayed with me, thanks for your patience! That said, this will be my last post of 2012, as I am embarking on a week-long vacation from the internet. So, I’ll see y’all in 2013, when I’ll debut a new recipes page and hopefully get back to CSA posts. Happy Holidays!

**

OK, back in October, it was my birthday. Due to my running addiction hobby, I thought it would be a great idea to run a half marathon on the morning of my birthday. AEW and I signed up for the Healdsburg Half Marathon, and TC came along to spectate. Since we were going to be up in wine country, I thought it would be a great idea to finally try Mustards Grill, a place in Napa that had been recommended to me more than 3 years ago by friends LGS and MS.

I made the reservation for the 3 of us, with plenty of time to relax after the race, change, and drive from Healdsburg to Napa. Unfortunately, we took a wrong turn (I admit, it was my fault) and ended up being 5-10 minutes late. Even though we called, they said they could not hold our table for more than 15 minutes. Yikes! So it was a close call, but we made it just in the nick of time.

We sat down and ordered drinks. I think TC got a beer, I had a glass of wine, and AEW ordered a delicious sidecar (I believe there was some seasonal fruit in it. Pomegranate, perhaps?).  We were all very pleased with our drinks and the crusty bread, especially since we were super hungry.

Hm, what to order? Everything looked so good!

We decided to order a couple of appetizers to share: Sweet Corn Tamales with mushrooms, salsa, and pumpkin seeds, and Laotian Quail. We got the quail simply because it was listed as the favorite of Cindy Pawlcyn, the executive chef and owner of Mustards. The consensus was that the quail was disappointing. The tamales, on the other hand — OMG. They were definitely the highlight of the meal. So, so delicious.

The quail. Meh, in our opinion.

The quail. Meh, in our opinion.

This tamale was to die for!

This tamale was to die for!

We skipped the salads and went straight for the main entrees.  AEW got the pulled pork sandwich, which she enjoyed immensely. We also ordered a side of mac n cheese and grilled sweet potatoes to share. The mac and cheese was superb — it was more like cheesy baked pasta, especially since it was made with penne instead of macaroni. The sweet potatoes were ok. They were the white kind, which I’m not a huge fan of.

more food

Clockwise from top: pulled pork sandwich, mac and cheese, and grilled sweet potatoes.

This potato chip is half the size of AEW's face!

This potato chip is half the size of AEW’s face!

I got the ahi tuna sandwich, which was tasty. My only complaint is that I thought it was supposed to be seared, not cooked through as it ended up being. It was still flavorful and juicy though. TC went all out and got the rabbit, which he really enjoyed. I thought it was a bit “burnt” tasting, but AEW also liked it, so I guess I’m the odd woman out.

super close up of my ahi tuna sandwich

Super close up of my ahi tuna sandwich. The fries were tasty too.

Pan-cooked red wine rabbit "Frenchy style" with pearl onions, mushrooms, and bacon.

Pan-cooked red wine rabbit “Frenchy style” with pearl onions, mushrooms, root vegetables, and bacon.

Since it was my birthday, I couldn’t resist getting a dessert. We shared a dark chocolate cake — I think it was the warm chocolate hazelnut truffle tart with caramel sauce, espresso ice cream, and praline. They even put a candle in it!

Not the best photo. I was probably too excited about the cake.

Not the best photo. I was probably too excited about the cake.

It was definitely a delicious meal and a wonderful part of a very memorable birthday celebration!

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