poor scientist. will blog 4 food.

the culinary adventures of a self-described foodie


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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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CSA Update 9/30/12 + Highlights from Eat Real 2012

Here’s what we got last week in our Eatwell Farm CSA box:

strawberries
basil
heirloom cherry tomatoes
shady lady tomatoes
heirloom tomatoes
Middle Eastern cucumbers
poblano peppers
bell peppers
onions
sweet potatoes
collard greens
zucchini

In my last post, Tammy mentioned she had never seen a Middle Eastern cucumber before, so I made a point of taking a photo before I ate them. I think they are the same as Persian cucumbers, but I might be wrong. Any cucumber experts out there?

Some of the veggies from our box last week: tomatoes, sweet potatoes, Middle Eastern cucumber, and onions.

We decided to roast the sweet potatoes (~1 hour at 400F). Since the oven was already on, we baked chicken thighs with garlic and onions. To complete the meal, we cooked the collards in the cast iron with some of the chicken juice.

Since we had plenty of tomatoes and cucumbers, I made an impromptu salad featuring those two veggies in homemade balsamic vinaigrette. It was easy and delicious.

quick and easy cucumber tomato salad

This was the last box of our CSA subscription. I know that last time I mentioned that we would be renewing our subscription, and we still are planning on it, but we decided to hold off for now. That’s the bad news. The good news is that TC and I are moving in together in mid-October! So, between packing, moving, and unpacking, neither of us wanted to stress about cooking CSA produce. Honestly, I think the break will be good. This series of posts has gotten a little stagnant, in my opinion. Hopefully, when it returns, it will be full of new and exciting things!

p.s. Can’t get enough of CSA goodies? Check out this week’s link party over at In Her Chucks to check out CSA boxes from all over the country!

***

Rather than writing a separate post on Eat Real, which I’ve blogged about in previous years (2009, 2010, 2011), I thought I’d show you some of the pictures from last weekend’s eat fest.

I had made plans to go to Eat Real on Sunday with LF, but TC and I couldn’t resist the siren call of the hand-made spicy beef corndog from Tante’s. So, we braved the crazy crowds on Saturday to get our hands on them. Unlike last year, we knew better than to try to share this deep-fried perfection. It was totally worth it.

I know, this corndog looks sorta weird, but trust me: it was awesome.

On Sunday, LF and I were sensible enough to make it down to the festival around 11:30, when it was much less crowded. Here’s a sampling of what we ate:

Deep fried daikon cake and beef pho rolls. Both very good, though pricey at $5 each.

A little bowl of shoyu ramen. Broth was too salty, noodles were so-so. LF’s miso ramen was bland.

“Is that a corndog in your purse, or are you just happy to see me?” We were stuffed, so LF got the corndog to go.

We also had Eritrean/Irish food which was very good in both taste and value. For drinks, we enjoyed watermelon basil agua fresca that was delicious and refreshing, as well as a beer each. There was a not-very-serious attempt to wait in the chowder mobile line; we waited for about 10 minutes and jumped ship after realizing the line was not moving. Just as the festival was getting crowded, we grabbed one last corndog for LF, retrieved our bikes from the bike valet, and headed home. Another fantastic experience at Eat Real!


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Point Reyes Low Tide Hike + Tamales Bay Oyster Company

A few weeks ago, we were treated to two of Northern California’s specialties: beautiful coastline and fresh oysters. My friend RF kindly organized a group outing to Point Reyes for one of the lowest tides of the year. This ultra low tide allows for “hiking” (really, wading through tide pools and climbing over barnacle covered rocks) from McClure Beach down to Kehoe Beach. Generally, these areas are inaccessible except during extreme low tides. The plan was to meet up at McClure Beach at 5:30 a.m. so that we could make the most of the low tide at 6:20.

We got up bright and early at 3:30 a.m. — in fact, I think this is the earliest that either TC and I had ever woken up — and hit the road around 4:00 a.m., picking up LG on the way. Despite the early hour, I was fueled by a combination of strong coffee and adrenaline. Unfortunately, we got a little lost and ended up waiting at the wrong parking lot, which was largely my fault. By the time we realized our mistake, we hustled down to the beach and tried to catch up to the group. The tide was already starting to come back in, which wouldn’t normally be a huge problem, but as TC and I had just run a trail half marathon 2 days before (and were suffering some physical ailments as a result), we decided that slipper rocks probably weren’t such a great idea. We encouraged LG, who appeared to be healthy and nimble, to go ahead without us while we went back to the car and drove 3 miles down the road to Kehoe Beach.

We waited out at Kehoe Beach, hoping that LG would be able to catch up with group and that all of us would be reunited for the second part of the plan: an oyster-centric picnic at Tamales Bay Oyster Company. Fortunately, we saw the group heading towards us about 45 minutes later. As everyone excitedly recapped what they saw (awesome tide pools, gorgeous scenery, etc.), I was envious but also relieved that we didn’t go — it would’ve been extremely hard on TC’s injured knee and my temperamental ankles.

In my 7 years of living in the Bay Area, I had never been to Tamales Bay for oysters, but had heard great things about it. My first experience did not disappoint. It was really awesome, and something I totally recommend for everyone to experience, even if you don’t like oysters. You can buy oysters there (duh), as well as sauces, lemons, and ice. There are plenty of grills and picnic tables where you can cook and enjoy your oysters. (Though, according to the website, the tables are limited to 10 people, and larger groups are required to pay for reservations. Luckily, we were there at 10:30 on a Tuesday morning, and didn’t have to fight any crowds or pay the fees.) On the way there, we stopped at a small grocery store in Point Reyes and picked up items for an impromptu potluck picnic with bread, cheese, chips, fruit, beer, and wine. There were quite a few folks in our group with oyster shucking knives and experience, which were extremely helpful. At about $1 each, these oysters were fresh, delicious, and as local as you can get! I had some raw and some grilled. NK picked up a bottle of sauce from the store that she swore was “the best” and it certainly was. We also had tabasco sauce and garlic butter for toppings, and washed it all down with PBR.

Full, happy, and a little sleepy, we drove home having experienced a real slice of Northern Californian heaven.

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