Somerville Livin', PVD Workin'

Cooking, Crafting, and Life

More Veggie Boxes and Overdue Recipes October 13, 2012

Filed under: Cooking,Geocaching — sarahinpvd @ 7:22 pm

I know, I know — it’s been a pretty long time since I’ve posted but these past few weeks have been CRAY CRAY. I haven’t had much time to do anything but work but at least next week will be pretty chill. Thank goodness for conferences!

Here’s a veggie box from last month when I actually remembered to take a picture. This particular veggie box contained lots of goodies including a watermelon!

I’m generally pleased with the veggies I’ve been getting. I’ve given a few things away since there was no way I would have been able to eat them and a few veggies have gone bad but overall, it’s been a great way to learn how to cook different vegetables that I would have never bought. I’m a little bit sick of squash but it is fall and they are in season… I think I would particularly enjoy the spring and summer versions of this farmshare. I also get apples every week — these apples are probably the most delicious apples I’ve ever had — perfectly crunchy!

In terms of actually cooking the vegetables — I braised some mustard greens with some turkey bacon and added it to my soup (recipe here). Note to self: don’t get turkey bacon ever again. It’s not even close to bacon and quite frankly, I don’t eat bacon enough to really make it an issue to get the real stuff. I’m young… my arteries can handle it! It was delicious and added some salty flavor to my soup.
Next, I made the Trader Joe’s Orange Mandarin Chicken (a favorite!) but instead of adding my usual mix of frozen veggies, added some eggplant, green peppers, and some other vegetables (carrots I think). The green peppers were a nice addition but I have to say — I’m not a huge fan of eggplant….

More pictures of food to come later! I’ve lost track of my “two new recipes” per month goal but it’s hard when the easiest way to prepare squash is throw it in the oven and when the best way for me to eat carrots is to throw into soup. I have a few more old recipes to post (kohlrabi fries, delicata squash, spaghetti squash, butternut squash soup) but tomorrow I’m making (along with Dan’s help) chicken noodle soup and spicy chicken rigatoni. SCR isn’t a new recipe but it sure is a classic.

Also, I’ve totally been doing a little bit of geocaching with Dan 🙂

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VEGGIE BOX! September 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — sarahinpvd @ 9:10 pm

So I didn’t take pictures of my veggie box as I was unpacking partially because I forgot and also because I was very busy looking up the best way to store these strange veggies I would have never bought. But… this weekend I made a ton of stuff from my box.

Sweet Potato Fries

Dan and I made baked sweet potato fries and used some garlic powder, dried basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes for seasoning. I think they ended up being a little spicier than we anticipated and a little saltier than we wanted but overall a success!

 

On Saturday, we went to go see the USS Michael Murphy (a destroyer) at Newport. Chris’s cousin is in the Navy and she, along with her friends, gave us a tour! Although, this isn’t really my jam and I don’t know as much about Navy ships as say… Dan… it was still amazing. The sheer size and mechanics of the ship are mind-blowing. It cost 1.8 billion dollars… things that we were touching/seeing were MAD expensive. When we came home, we made Glazed Festival Squash which turned out really well and were sweet and delicious!

 

Today, we made eggs with arugula and leeks for breakfast which turned out really well! Dan (and I, by extension) learned how to cut, clean, and cook leeks. Thank goodness for Youtube! It looked really good in the pan but I forgot to take a picture of it then. I was too eager to eat!

 

For dinner, I had some Healthy Choice quick meal thing and then I made some soup! It has carrots, caramelized onions, celery, and potato. I seasoned it liberally with salt and pepper after blending it but it tastes pretty good and seems pretty healthy to me! It’s got a great color to it and is a way I can eat carrots!

 

 

Now I have 1 Mcintosh apple, 1 sweet potato, 3 beets, 3 peaches, and 4 skinny carrots left from my original box o’ vegetables. Itsuka is taking care of the Romaine lettuce for since I’m not a huge fan — I prefer mixed greens, arugula, or spinach and I’m adding celery to my vegetable stock since I bought some today for soup. I’m planning to roast the beets and then saute the beet greens with some turkey bacon. My next veggie box comes on Wednesday and I’m sure I’ll have to take some home with me since there is no way I can eat everything before I leave for the weekend.

 

Updates to the Updates September 5, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — sarahinpvd @ 12:17 pm

I’ve had a few developments to my end-of-the-summer update list already! They’re minor but still make me feel like I’m doing things/keeping busy.

1. I’ve finished The Disappearing Spoon. The book was a good read overall and quite entertaining at times. However, there were several parts in the book that made no sense to me, most likely because of my lack of a background in chemistry and because I failed to properly grasp what the author was talking about. I would still recommend the book though because it accomplished its goal — getting me to become interested in chemistry. Years of terrible chem classes had made chemistry a big black box but now, thanks to Sam Kean, I’m inspired to learn more — through a careful reading of my old chemistry textbooks and a long list of things to Wikipedia.

2. My first “veggie box” from the farmshare is coming on Wednesday! In preparation for what I’m sure will be an abundance of carrots, I’ve found this recipe from Mark Bittman (with help from Dan’s Dad): glazed carrots. As most people who know me are well aware, I don’t like carrots except in very specific circumstances (in chicken noodle soup, do chua, or sometimes in take-out). This recipe looks simple and hopefully will be tasty enough to help me get over my carrot distaste.

(EDIT: MY VEGGIE BOX CAME IN TODAY!!! I’m incredibly excited. Today is very rainy and gloomy and fruits/veggies was exactly what I needed — will update with photos and recipe ideas when I get home. I feel like a small child with a new toy.)

3. Not on my list but a first nonetheless: candlepin bowling! The bowling balls are super small and it’s actually incredibly hard… Riz, Dan, and I were the only people without kids (very little kids) but it was still great fun.

 

End of Summer Update August 27, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — sarahinpvd @ 10:04 pm

It’s August 27th so I thought I should do a follow-up on my goals list. Side note: HOW IS IT THE END OF THE SUMMER? Where has time gone?!

Long-term goals:

  • Start playing music again (not so much but I may save this one for after my roomie takes her MCATs… I’m not sure the noise from playing clarinet will be good for her studying)
  • Travel (working on it! So far, DC, NYC, Cancun in January)
  • More regular exercise (sort of… I am planning to get a membership to the YMCA so that I can practice swimming)
  • Be more sustainable (eat mainly in season fruits and veggies) (Halfway there — I’m hoping to get a mini farm share of veggies and I’m going to the farmer’s market more frequently.)
  • Actually learn how to cook (On track)
  • Run a half-marathon (Falling by the wayside so I’ll have to be better about going for a jog)
  • More crafts! (I’ve made very little progress on this front)

Short term goals

  • Finish cross-stitch pillowcase (see “more crafts” above. I’ll aim to finish it by the end of this year)
  • Go the whole length of the East Bay bike path (I’m sad I haven’t used my bike all summer… I really need to get a bike pump — this will be a this week task!)
  • Make a new dish at least twice a month (Mostly on track, which reminds me to think of two recipes to try for September)
  • Learn how to swim (Almost success! I took some classes — now all I need is practice. See “exercise” above)
  • Read a book every week and a half (this one, along with crafting, fell by the wayside a bit but I’m trying to be better about it. I just joined goodreads.com which is a fantastic way of keeping me on track)

All in all, I’d say this has been a pretty successful summer. Here’s to a fantastic fall. (Yes, I realize that technically there’s a month left to the summer). I’m super glad to be out of school but I have to say I miss studying a little bit (the casual type of studying, not the cramming kind). I actually brought back several textbooks from home (cell and molec bio, orgo, chem, and neuroscience) with the intent of reading them for enjoyment. I started the chemistry textbook and am rather enjoying it… TOTALLY WEIRD I KNOW. Also, how “Brown” of me. 🙂

 

Pork and Veggie Dumplings August 12, 2012

Filed under: Cooking — sarahinpvd @ 9:20 pm

SO. MANY. DUMPLINGS.

SO. MUCH. DELICIOUSNESS.

I used this recipe since it looked pretty easy and didn’t require a lot of ingredients. Everything was really easy from making the filling to making the actual dumplings themselves. The dumpling sauce had some soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and scallions.

Here’s a slightly blurry picture of the before:

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Andddddddd here’s the after!

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The filling was spot on and I even froze some leftovers for later consumption. We steamed them first and then pan-fried them to get some crunch. This was a GREAT recipe and a huge success. I’m super happy with them. My tummy is very full of dumplings. 🙂

 

Spicy Pork Bulgolgi Banh Mi + Zucchini Pizza Bites August 1, 2012

Filed under: Cooking,Reading,Swimming — sarahinpvd @ 8:35 pm

This past weekend Dan and I made some pork bulgolgi which we then “Vietnamesized”. The marinade for the pork bulgolgi ended up a little bit salty so I’ll use less soy sauce next time and marinate it for a shorter amount of time. Minus the extra salty, it was good and I’d definitely use the marinade again. It did use a lot things though — asian pear, fuji apple, ginger, garlic, onion, etc — and was a bit of a hassle to make but that could be my laziness talking. We got the french baguette (banh mi) from the Seven Stars stand at the farmer’s market. It’s a good thing I don’t live close to Seven Stars or else I would spend all my money on their bread. It was delicious and perfectly crunchy. We also made the pickled carrot and daikon radish which I forgot to put on the first two sandwiches but then remembered on the last two– no pictures with the pickled stuff though 😦  The mayos (one had gochujang and another had sesame) were okay but not fantastic… I’ll have to think about an alternative for next time.

 

We had some mango lassi to go along with our banh mi but I forgot to take a picture of those. Cue a stock photo from the internet! Mine used fresh, ripe mango and yogurt from Narragansett Creamery. Delicious! A definite repeat. I also love Narragansett Creamery.

I used my leftover pork bulgolgi and pickled carrots/daikon with some rice and stir-fried boy choy in two fantastic dinners. Cooking really is cost-effective, but it’s just so time consuming!

 

Last but not least, I made zucchini pizza bites…. which were FANTASTIC. They were a great snack and I think I can say they’re relatively healthy. It’s just zucchini slices with a little bit of pizza sauce and turkey pepperoni. It also took no time at all.

 

July cooking was a wild success! I definitely accomplished my goal of two new dishes a month.

In other news, I’m a little bit behind on my reading goal but I did finish Maphead. It was a good and entertaining read and prompted me to think about doing a little bit of exploring around Providence. I did feel that there were a few points in the book where Ken Jennings was trying too hard to be funny. I still haven’t gone to find that geocache across the street from my house but it’s on the list of things to do!

I also started my first swim lesson yesterday. The instructor didn’t show up but it did give me a chance to get more comfortable in the water. The pool at the East Side Y was good in the sense that it’s only 5 ft at the deep end so I feel totally comfortable learning how to swim…. now if only the instructor would show up. I guess I’ll see if he shows up next week.

What a week. I’m trying to get back into running again and I still have to fix my bike/get a bike rack but it’s been hard to get up in the morning since I’ve been watching the Olympics and work has been really tiring lately. There’s so much I want to do and not a lot of time. I should probably cut down on my TV time…

For August, I think I want to try making dumplings or burgers for maybe both!

 

 

Kimchi Fried Rice July 26, 2012

Filed under: Cooking,Work — sarahinpvd @ 8:20 pm

I went to H-Mart this past weekend (the Korean market in Burlington, MA) and got a ton of goodies! Well, mainly some mirin, gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste), bok choy, daikon, and kimchi. Today, I made kimchi fried rice with shrimp. Recipe adapted from here. I basically substituted shrimp, put the egg into the fried rice instead of on top, and put some of my frozen veggie mix in. Actually, I basically only used the sauce part of the recipe since I’m a pro at fried rice (insert some sort of Asian joke here).

ImageClearly it just looks like normal fried rice but it was SUPER GOOD. I was very pleased with how it turned out. It could have used a little more kimchi and it could be a little hotter so I’ll probably put some red pepper flakes in next time I eat it. I forgot for tonight but tomorrow I’ll make some bok choy and have some more veggies. I’m so happy with it — I’m not sure if I can go back to normal fried rice…

Conclusion: SUCCESS. 🙂

I realize all the foodgawker recipes I’ve been looking at really focus on presentation of dishes and I’m usually not patient enough/too lazy to really care about presentation when I post pictures of my food. Maybe when I make my spicy pork bulgolgi banh mi on Saturday, I’ll try and make it really pretty… maybe…

Complete switch of topics but last night I went to Legal Seafoods in Boston with a few friends. The restaurant was pretty noisy but the food was good! My scallops were cooked really well and the crab cake was full of crab which is unfortunately, a rare occurrence. I still prefer the crab cakes that Dan and I had at Cafe Nuovo but I’m not sure any restaurant can beat those crab cakes. Legal’s was expensive though so I’m not sure I’d go back but it was definitely decent food and good service… just not necessarily great value.

Another switch of topics but my work week has been INSANE. At least I love what I do and love the people I work with because if I didn’t, I’m pretty sure I would have gone crazy by now. Good news though — I was in Boston on Monday and reminded my superiors (gently of course) that I would like to be in Boston next year…. we’ll see how that turns out! I really like working in the Boston office… mainly because 1. I get to have some social interaction with my coworkers and 2. it’s a real office space (such a luxury). All I’m going to say is RI needs to get its act together. And so do the Feds. I’m seriously concerned about having an operational Exchange by Oct. 2013 but I guess it’s part of my job to make sure that happens. Although this week was hectic and stressful, I’m thankful I have a job and thankful that it’s exactly what I want to be doing right now.

I’m really happy with life after school. It’s the best. I finally get to start crossing things off my list of things to do.