poor scientist. will blog 4 food.

the culinary adventures of a self-described foodie


CSA Update: 8/14/12

Well hello there! I got back from Taiwan last Monday, and was greeted on Wednesday with a fresh box of goodies from Eatwell Farm, which included:

heirloom cherry tomatoes
Roma tomatoes
heirloom tomatoes
Middle Eastern cucumbers
mixed lettuce
Italian flat leaf parsley
gypsy peppers

I looked at the list and immediately thought: SALAD!!! As great as the food was in Taiwan, I just didn’t get enough fresh, raw veggies. (Fruit was another story… we ate so much fresh fruit every day. It was awesome.) I basically threw the following into the salad spinner and called it a day: heirloom cherry tomatoes, mixed lettuce, cucumbers, 1 pepper, and a couple of boiled eggs. It was delicious and nutritious — just what I needed to help me with my post-vacation detox.

This salad looks small because of the giant utensils, but trust me when I say it was a HUGE salad.

That same night (Wednesday), we went over to check out our friends’ sweet new digs around the corner. When we got back, TC said he was hungry, but not for salad. Not wanting to cook (it was almost 11), I scrounged around and found a Trader Joe’s veggie pizza in the freezer. We put some zucchini, fresh basil, and heirloom tomatoes on it and popped it in the oven. It was magical! I’m already a big fan of TJ’s pizza, but this was a whole new ballgame. Highly recommended.

Gourmet frozen pizza anyone? I don’t know why, but I took this picture BEFORE we baked the pizza. Trust me that it looked better AFTER.

I ended up using the rest of the peppers, Roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and zucchini to make a quick pasta sauce, but it was just so-so. Not photo worthy either. Despite that, we had a pretty successful CSA week. We still have potatoes and the chard to deal with… not sure what we’ll do with those yet. Any suggestions?


p.s. Can’t get enough of CSA goodies? Check out this week’s link party over at In Her Chucks!


CSA Update: 5/20/12

What’s that saying? “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”… or something like that? Well, after  Ashlee from Eatwell Farms read my complaint about the lackluster strawberries, she actually offered to send me replacements! In an email, she wrote,

We’d be glad to send you extra strawberries with your next delivery on May 16th.  They’ll be in a separate paper bag with your name.  Anytime you receive sub-par produce, please send me an email, and I’ll schedule a replacement.

I heart Ashlee and I heart Eatwell Farms! Even more so after we went strawberry picking yesterday, but that’s a future post.

Back to the business at hand! Here’s what we got in our Eatwell CSA box on Wednesday:

romaine lettuce
French breakfast radishes
eureka lemons
fava beans
red spring onions
green garlic
wakefield cabbage
bonus: basil tips

Due to our upcoming crazy busy weekend, we knew we weren’t going to get to cook very much. So we had to strategize — what would we cook and what would we give away?

For Wednesday, TC had a brilliant idea: PIZZA! Now, even though I’m a lactard, I still like to have pizza every once in a while (with 1-2 lactaid pills, of course). We got refrigerated ready-made dough and sauce from Whole Foods and set to work. We piled on the toppings: cheese (duh), basil, spinach, mushrooms, red onion, jalapeno peppers, and green garlic. It was SO GOOD! And pretty easy too. We made two pizzas — one regular (white flour) crust and one whole wheat crust. On the side, we made an easy salad with romaine lettuce, carrots, red onion, and avocado with honey mustard dressing (not homemade, sadly). It was a very successful adventure. I’m certain that pizza night will make it into our regular CSA rotation.

Homemade pizza = fun, easy, and delicious.

Besides the romaine lettuce, we had a LOT of greens to work with, as usual. TC took the cabbage to use or give away, which left me with the arugula, spinach, and chard. I was inspired by recent success with making random pasta dishes to try again with these greens. Basically, I made Bacon and Broccoli Pasta but subbing broccoli with greens. I also added some of the basil and green garlic. And guess what? It was great! I love salad, but I love pasta more. Not to mention that pasta lasts so much longer as leftovers.

Prepping the greens. Lots and lots of greens!

Finished product, garnished with Parmesan. Delish.

And just like that, we used most of our CSA box!

p.s. Can’t get enough of CSA goodies? Check out this link party over at In Her Chucks!


My new ‘hood

The title is a bit misleading since I moved to my new apartment almost 7 months ago. I’ve been meaning to wax poetic about my new digs for months, but I was lazy and haven’t gotten around to taking the pictures that I wanted to take, etc. Excuses, excuses! A recent visit to Gioia Pizzeria gave me reason to finally write something up.

Before we start on all of the great food places within a 5-minute walk from my apartment (including Gioia), a few words on moving to a new place. It’s crazy because I only moved about half a mile northwest, but my entire perspective changed. Suddenly, the market that was a 7-minute walk up a steep hill was now on my way to and from work. I got a bike basket and started picking up groceries on my way home, which is something I seriously recommend if you can swing it. It’s good for the environment and for the soul. Also, now that I live in an apartment complex and across the street from a delightful park, I feel so much more a part of my community than when I lived in a quiet studio behind a house (and with a crazy neighbor no less… ugh).

I don’t always welcome change, but this one was refreshing. I loved getting rid of stuff I’ve been meaning to discard for years and changing the pictures on my walls, things I was too lazy to do before the move. Actually having a bedroom instead of sleeping in a studio was a significant upgrade, as was the bed I bought to replace the futon that I slept on for 5 long years. My favorite things about the apartment are the slanted ceilings with white-washed slats. It gives my room a Cape Cod cottage feel, which is so relaxing. Sasha the cat loves the new place too. Lots of carpet to lay on (and tear up), more spaces to hide, and wide ledges for observing the neighborhood wildlife.

This is Sasha's favorite sunny day spot.

As I was saying, there are a plethora of great food places nearby. First and foremost, Monterey Market is my favorite for fresh produce. Think Berkeley Bowl but a lot cheaper and smaller. They have a wide variety of choices, from conventionally to organically grown, and their fresh herbs are less than 99 cents/bag. When I went to buy cucumbers recently, I was confronted with an abundance of options: regular, English, Persian, Japanese, and Mediterranean. It’s not unusual to walk out with a bag full of produce for $5. It’s amazing, and now that they’re open on Sundays, my life is complete.

One thing the Monterey Market does not have is fresh meat. For that, I walk across the street to Magnani Poultry. I’ve only bought chicken there, but they are expanding to beef and pork too. In the same block as Magnani’s, there is a bakery, cheese shop, fish shop, liquor store, and pizzeria. Nearby is Espresso Roma, which serves excellent espresso and breakfast plates and has a nice outdoor dining area to boot.

So, back to the pizza. I’ve gotten slices from Gioia’s off and on since I moved to Berkeley. They specialize in New York style thin slice, while also integrating California food politics of local, sustainable, organic. Most importantly, their pizza is delicious. On this particular evening, we opted for 2 slices of pizza each.

Mangia mangia! Pizza pizza!

TC got the tomato and basil, I got the anchovy, and we both got a slice of the mushroom. The anchovy slice was amazing — very salty anchovies offset by the spice of Calabrian chiles. Best of all, it was a great feeling to walk to a local pizzeria, get some slices to go, and stroll home with the hot pizza in hand.