NOLA and Watermelon Radish Salad

Part of my job is to take pictures of food. I wander through the aisles of the store, down the paths of the garden, and probably get too excited when I see the farm truck drive up in the morning.

New bok choy and carrots? HELL YES. That shit will photograph like woah. (That is the way my brain works. It ain’t pretty)

I also write about food. And Facebook about food. And tweet about food. Needless to say, it has led me to neglect this blog. Which is a bummer, because I love writing this blog. I can swear and ramble and who knows if anyone reads it, but I love it. So I’ll try to get better about it.

I promise.

First, take a look at these strawberries that we got in today. NOVEMBER 29th and we get fresh local strawberries? Oh the joys of Central Austin growing seasons.

Besides food I’ve been dipping my toe into newness. New town, new boy, new life. My heart misses the pine trees, the mitten clad mornings and frosted walks around Greenlake. It’s a unique feeling to choose to move away from all that you know and love, and learn to love all the new.

This was my first Thanksgiving where I wasn’t with all of my family. Instead, we took the long drive to Louisiana. We made our way through the flat Texas country side, where it occurred to me how damn big this state is.

We crossed over long bridges, my sister making mountains out of oil refineries. I spent my holiday weekend in New Orleans. A city that exudes magic.  The moss dripping from trees like cobwebbed tears and those buildings that look like something out of a history book. The city breathes with a vibrancy that is unmatched. It’s alive in a way that only it can claim. I found myself drawn into a home for the weekend, as they catered to my special diet and called me family. Their hospitality only furthered my love affair with the city.

The last night I found myself sitting on the floor of this jazz club in the French Quarter, close enough to the trumpet player that I feared for spittle drops on my leg. Dedicating the songs to my grandpa, tearing up at the saxophone solo and smiling ear to ear.

Filled to the brim with music.

Filled to the brim. That is exactly how New Orleans makes me feel.

So I am taking all of this in stride. Learning how to live as a Texan. Learning how to make happiness here.

I’m learning.

Kale and Watermelon Radish Salad

1 watermelon radish (prepared and pickled)

1 bunch kale

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp thyme

Black pepper

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted

First you need to pickle your radishes.

All you need to do is combine 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp salt in a medium-sized bowl. Thinly slice the radish using a mandoline or chef’s knife, add to the bowl and stir to combine. You’ll want to let that stand for 30 minutes, or refrigerate up to a day before serving.

As your radish’s are pickling, wash the kale and pat off excess water. If the center stems are tender, trim off the bottom inch or two. If the stems are thick, cut or tear them out. Slice the leaves crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide ribbons.

In a large bowl combine olive oil, sesame oil, lemon juice, thyme and black pepper. Add a little bit more salt, if you’d like. Add the kale and use your hands to massage the dressing in the leaves until they soften and wilt.

Drain the radishes. Toss with the kale. Garnish with pumpkin seeds and serve.

 

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Chaos Box

I let myself have a bit too much fun this weekend.

Woops.

After suffering from the WORST allergy attack after doing yard work for a record ten minutes my bestie and I decided to bike to our fave brewery. Mmmmm Interurban IPA, how I love you.

One beer turned into two. Which turned into cocktails and Thai food. Which turned into another beer at the Fremont Solstice Celebration. Which turned into margarita happy hour at El Camino.

my bestie is so stinkin’ pretty.

Worst.

Idea.

Ever.

And when I say worst, I mean best. Best because I spent a summer(ish) evening with my best friend. Best because we always have fun when it is just the two of us drinking too much alcohol. Best because it reaffirmed the idea that this summer will be lived balls to the wall, full of insane ideas explained away by the “chaos box theory”.

This theory was presented by a lovely young lady from Atlanta, GA. After asking me my astrological sign and studying my face for a minute or two, she exclaimed that I liked to put things in boxes.

She hit the nail on the head. If there is something I have to admit (bashfully, and with a little bit of hesitation), it is that fact that I like things to be in their place. I am a planner. I fear change. I like when things are color coded and organized.

I guess this is a Capricorn thing?

Needless to say, this lady suggested that I just put chaos in a box. I take the next two months before my big adventure and LIVE. IT. UP.

Perhaps this will take shape in the form of staying up later than 10 pm. Or it will morph into more road trips to places to see people who make me smile. Perhaps it will simply be the idea to let my hair down (figuratively, of course) and allow myself to live it up.

I mean, I’m only 25 once, right?

I took a baby step in this direction by making a recipe without any hint of a recipe. GASP.

It turned out REALLY good, by the way. Chaos box:1 Regular box: 0

Braised Collard Greens with Grilled Asparagus and a Fried Egg

*I need to work on recipe titles…

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch of collard greens
  • ½ a bunch of asparagus
  • 1 cup of brown rice, and 6 cups of H20
  • ½ cup of vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tsp curry powder

Start the brown rice. I like to boil mine in about 6 cups of water, reducing to a simmer for 30 minutes. Then I remove it from heat, drain, and let it sit in the pot with the lid on for 10 minutes. That last 10 minutes steams it and makes it the PERFECT brown rice—which is saying a lot, I know.

Wash and cut out the stems of the collard greens. You can cut these into 1 inch chunks and use them as well as the leaves, which I cut into strips. Wash and snap of the ends of the asparagus stalks.

Feed to your hungry puppy, if one exists.

Turn the oven on to 400 degrees and roast asparagus (tossed in 1 tsp olive oil and salt and pepper) for 10-15 minutes, until soft but not mushy.

While asparagus is roasting, heat up 1 tsp of olive oil, and throw in the collard greens. Let wilt for a couple of minutes and then toss in the spices and garlic. Continue to let these bad boys simmer and toss in the ½ cup of vegetable stock. Reduce the heat and let all of those amazing flavors mingle. I kept the collards on the stove the whole time the asparagus was cooking, it definitely cooked down a WHOLE lot, but the flavors were outstanding.

Once the rice, collards and asparagus is done—cook the egg. I am lazy and just popped it into the same pan that I used to cook the collards, and it made it SO MUCH BETTER. The egg soaked up the leftover flavors that were in the pan…

Just drooling thinking about it.

Eat. Enjoy. Thank spring/early summer for giving us all these amazing veggies.

Cheers to the summer of the Chaos Box.