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A Riddle

15 Feb

A riddle for you on this Tuesday afternoon: what do a 17th century troubadour, a man in a banana suit and cookie monster all have in common?

The answer is they are all subway musicians! Over the past two weeks I saw the my 17th century friend uptown on the downtown one platform, strumming a guitar with a mead tankard hanging from his belt. The banana and cookie monster actually played a duet together in Penn station. In case you were curious, Cookie monster plays the xylophone and banana’s are fond of the stand up bass. (Actually, they were really good).


Just a day in the life of a commuting grad student. Another normal day? Doing lots of reading while your muffins bake in the oven.


These muffins are lightly adapted from The New American Plate’s Flaxseed Raisin muffins. I subbed in whole wheat flour, raw turbinado sugar, and added a 1/2 tsp of all spice. I also used plain yogurt instead of buttermilk. These will be my go to breakfast (or snack) for the next few days,  as I finish reading about cognitive flexibility in the drawings of bilingual children.



13 Sep

There is no one under the age of 20 in my household, yet our go to tomato sauce recipe comes from this book.

I go this book about 10 years ago when I was making my first forays into cooking. (For those of you who don’t know, that would make me 13). I took it out from the library and proceeded to host a dinner party for my extended family, making both this sauce and Emeril’s spinach stuffed shells. My aunt gave me a copy as a gift, and I proceeded to make spinach stuffed shells again. And would again several years later when I hosted a dinner for 20 friends. I think these are the only two recipes I have ever used from this book, but they’re good.  And the sauce is super easy to make, I have it simmering away right now as I type.

In other news, the blog finally has a header! Check it out. My original drawing was much crisper, but as with anything I do that then involves technology, resizing it led to a fuzzier result.

I’ll probably be posting once a week now on Mondays because my life is about to get crazy. Commuting into the city 5 days a week will lead to change in how I plan my meals. Expect to see some experimentation with a slow cooker and attempts to keep lunch from getting boring, all while trying to eat healthily. Maybe  I should rename the blog Commuter Cooking (just kidding).

And of course, some cultural excursions because as my friend Stef said to me last night ” I cannot let work become my life”.

Black & Blue

28 Jun

The title of this post does not refer to the injuries I sustain by walking into things on a daily basis. Instead it refers to berries, one of my favorite things about the summer season. For a family bbq, I decided to make a fruit galette and use up the entire carton of blueberries from the fruit stand. I placed my trust in Martha, her recipe for pate brisee, and the book’s beautiful photography.

I think I was too enthusiastic when pulsing the butter. Maybe substituting some of the flour for whole wheat flour wasn’t the best idea ( though I like the contrast of a darker brown crust with the purple berry juice). Or maybe some other element went wrong. All I know is that half my dough got thrown out when I tried to roll it out, and the other half put up a good fight. Eventually I rolled it into submission, and a little over an hour later, I got to eat this:

A Spring Dinner

26 Apr

Buttermilk Strata with Portobello and Leek

Roasted Asparagus

I swear I don’t only use Peter Berley Cookbooks

23 Apr

I promise that I have a wealth of other cookbooks and resources, but Peter Berley’s are just so handy. This is his Lentil and Corn Salad with Sweet Peppers and Coriander from Fresh Food Fast.  I have a feeling it’s going to be a fantastic portable dinner for tonight when I have to head over to my old university to monitor the printshop facilities.

It was really  simple to put together and I think it’s pulling me out of my at home food rut. (Does anyone else get bored with the quick meals they tend to rely on?) And I don’t think anything smells better than fresh basil. Hello summer, I’ve missed you.

And for the meat lover in my life, I’m adding some grilled chicken to his portion.

The trials and tribulations of a packed lunch

18 Mar


Close up of Monday

Monday’s lunch consisted of Potato Salad with Green Beans and Cannellini Beans and leftover salad (sadly on it’s way out).


Tuesday was a pasta salad made with the following: 1 serving of vegetable tortellini, 1 portobello mushroom, 1 zucchini, 1/2 tomato tossed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice (plus a little basil)


Time for a close up

Wednesday was Greek Antipasta Salad served in whole wheat pitas. I kept them separate until lunch time, to keep the pita from getting disgustingly soggy.


Arnold Sandwich thin with baby spinach, turkey and swiss. Served with a perfectly ripe pear.

For Friday, please repeat wednesday.

I find lunch to be incredibly annoying to pack because it has to fill me up and get me through the afternoon, along with the fact that I usually do not have a refrigerator or microwave handy. So the meals have to taste good at room temperature and survive transit in my lunch box, and it’s also nice not to eat the same thing every day in a row. (Unless of course it’s delicious). The solution to my problem? Planning. I found the Moosewood’s Simple Supper cookbook to be incredibly useful for quick lunch ideas, I think I’ll need to purchase a copy because this has been the most interesting lunch week I’ve had in a long time. True I only used two of their recipes so far this week, but it definitely inspired me to keep my lunches creative.

25 Feb

Empanadas made for the Art Potluck

Recently, there’s been a fad amongst my family to have appetizers only parties. Now, I think this sounds like a good idea in theory but for a hungry girl like me, a lack of sane healthy appetizer choices leads to untold mouthfuls of spinach and artichoke dip or wolfing down several knishes. Not that I regret it in the moment, but the day after I’m usually crying out for some vegetables.

It’s because of this that I’ve found my go-to recipe anytime I want to bring an appetizer to a party: Acorn Squash and Black Bean Empandas from the Veganomicon. These two main ingredients, plus an assortment of spices, a few other veggies and jalapenos, create a mixture with a nice kick that is easy to eat with your hands. I recently made these again for a big potluck dinner at my old art studio and found that they’re even good served at room temperature, handy when there isn’t a stove nearby or the adjacent one is already heating up other apps.  Though Veganomicon suggests cutting the dough into triangles to save from re-rolling scraps, I find the presentation to be better when using my biscuit cutters to cut out circles to fill with the stuffing. And even if the presentation turns out ugly (like my last batch did when I was having issues with the dough) at least you’ll know they’ll still be delicious.

The Flexitarian Table

25 Jan

As of today, I’ve tested out 3 of the winter menus from Berly’s The Flexitarian Table. Previously discussed was the Phyllo Pie with Lemon tofu, winter greens, and mushrooms paired with the roasted winter vegetable salad and red onion vinaigrette.  I also tested out the favorite winter tomato soup/ spanish style eggs over farro/fennel with lemon and and fennel salt combo and  tonight was chicken/tempeh in mole negro with a pickled vegetable salad.

Pickled Vegetables made earlier this week

Overall I really like this cookbook. It has a nice layout with lots of visuals ( I don’t know whether this is the artist in me, but I demand that my cookbooks have gorgeous photographs in them before I even consider looking at them), caters to both meat eaters and vegetarians simultaneously, draws from a wide variety of cuisines and each menu includes an plan for timing in order to prepare everything simultaneously.

My only gripe with the cookbook is that you seriously need to have a lot of time if you plan on cooking an entire menu. While everything is planned to be made together, some elements ( usually the first one on the list) take a decent amount of time. The mole negro I cooked tonight took me about an hour and forty five minutes, though I was cooking the chicken and tempeh during the last twenty minutes of simmering. If you’re cooking one of the menus for the first time, don’t expect to be able to throw it together quickly after work.

This cookbook requires some planning but because of this would be fantastic to use for a dinner or event in order to keep all guests happily fed. And I don’t know whether it’s because I’m craving warm weather and lighter meals, but all the recipes in the Spring and Summer sections look fantastic.