16 June 2009

Fried Zucchini Blossoms

One farm was offering zucchini blossoms at Portland's Saturday market last week. Hopefully there will be more of these next week. The batter was made from chickpea flour, corn starch, baking soda, paprika, water and salt. I know most people like to stuff them with cheese before frying, but I really think that's just unnecessary. (Yes, I know I killed those eggs.)

Cornucopasetic Ingredient Alert: Toasted Pita Chips with Mother Oven's Pita Bread and Heiwa Tofu

Ingredient Alert #1: Mother Over Pita Bread in the form of Pita Toasts

I love Mother Oven Bakery. The bread is Food with a capital F and it comes out of an honest to goodness earth goddess oven. His pita bread makes the best pita toasts I've ever had.

Pita Toasts

Cut two pita breads in half and then into three wedges. Separate the layers of each wedge and then mix all of the little pita pieces with 2 to 3 Tbs. of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Some crushed garlic would be good here too. Bake them at 420° until golden, spread out on a baking sheet, smooth side down. If you bake them too long, they become mouth lacerating triangles of doom. Spare your tongue and make sure you take them out just as they are beginning to brown.

What to put on your pita toasts:

  • Pita toasts with tapenade, hummus and sliced radishes.
  • Pita toasts with tapenade, radishes and garlicky sauteed broccoli rabe.
  • Pita toasts with tofu "egg" salad.
Wait! Stop, and think about the poor broccoli rabe (a/k/a broccoli raab, a/k/a rapini) for a minute. It's an excellent and perfectly healthy green and yet it somehow gets a bad rap. There is only one farm selling it at the Portland market that I know of: Lalibelia Farm (and I thank them for it). But she was telling me today that they may drop rapini because it doesn't seem to be selling well. So go out there and buy some from here and keep it in circulation. I like to blanch it, drain it, squeeze the water out a bit and then sautee it with just garlic, or (as is apparently popular) with garlic, pine nuts, raisins, pepper flakes and lemon. The latter method is really excellent.

Ingredient Alert #2: Tofu

When I lived in Davis, California, I would buy the best ever tofu and soy milk at the Davis Coop. The stuff was made in Sacramento, just a few miles away. It was fresh and tasted unlike any tofu I'd ever had. It was almost a shame to cook it. We would eat it fresh with nutritional yeast gravy for breakfast. It was a treat. I've been disappointed that there doesn't appear to be any such local source for tofu here, but now I find that Heiwa Tofu of Lincolnville is filling the empty niche. And better still, Crown O' Maine will be distributing it beginning this summer. For the time being, however, you can get it at Morning Glory in Brunswick and at Lois' Natural Marketplace in Scarborough.

Tofu "Egg" Salad
  • 1 cake of Heiwa Tofu, dried with a clean towel and then squished by hand into crumbly bits
  • 1/4 cu. diced celery
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • a handful of finely chopped herbs: parsely, oregano, thyme, sage, chives…
  • 2 Tbs. capers
  • 3 – 5 cornichons, chopped
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. tumeric
  • 1/4 cu. mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbs. dijon mustard
  • 1 – 2 tsp. of lemon juice
I might be off on the amount of mayo, so add that in spoonfuls until it comes out egg salady.

Now we just need a local tempeh source.

10 June 2009

Protest a Restaruant; Go To Jail.

It started simply enough … with an argument in a Chongqing restaurant over whether or not a bag was lost there.

Ever since May 21, the Quanju restaurant in Chongqing’s Yubei district has had a regular supply of customers coming in.

Normally this would be a good thing, but in this case each customer takes up a separate table, and orders the cheapest item on the menu, fried peanuts or just order a beer. They then hang around for hours in an effort to cost the restaurant money.

Wait for it…

After the protests occured[sic] three nights in a row, the restaurant manager called the police, who actually arrested seven of the customers and sent them to prison for five days.

Damn, that's harsh.

[Via the always interesting Wierd Asia News.]

09 June 2009

Coffee 2.0

You can send your orders to Bard Coffee by twitter now:


01 June 2009

The Inaugural Cornucopasetic Cookbook Trade-Away: The Millennium Cookbook

I have a copy of the The Millennium Cookbook in good condition. Does anyone want it? I'll trade it for, in descending order of priority:

  1. A veggie oriented book I don't have;
  2. A cool, interesting or bizarre food related book I don't have;
  3. A funny food related poem, song, video, limerick, photo, drawing, or other bit of original creativity that you make and that I may post here.
Send your offers to bowman@mazirian.com.

UPDATE: And the trade is complete. I'm sending the book out today to Meg of Becoming Whole. Thanks, Meg.

My Sous Chef In Training

Elin, four and a half, does the prep work for a bowl of play dough stew. She's all about the mise en place, you know.

Trendy Springtime Eating, Part IV: Rhubarb, It's Not Just For Dessert Anymore

I can't stop myself from buying rhubarb when I encounter it at the farmers' market. The farmers just stand there, smiling, knowing I'm going to stuff bags with the stuff. But then I get home and everyone looks at me like, "what, rhubarb crisp … again!" and I feel like a lame, one-trick rhubarb pony that my daughter is ready to turn into glue for her next collage. Enter Rhubarb curry with french lentils, cabbage, potatoes and peas from Berley's oft-heckled, but nonetheless mostly excellent Flexitarian Table. Rhubarb looses its structure with very little cooking, and so it's basically a really distinctive, tangy thickener in this curry. I sort of expected to be let down by this recipe, but it was excellent. Berley's curry mixture needs some work. Start from whole seeds, toasting and grinding them together; maybe add mustard seeds to it.

Freedom Farm offered up the best beet greens ever this last market day, with the tiniest nub of beet root and perfectly tender small leaves. Sauteed with garlic and lemon juice there is nothing finer in the spring eating line up. The stalks turn into a kind of juicy red noodle. The carrots were also suggested by Flexitarian Table and were roasted with a glaze of earth balance, lime juice, pepper flakes and cumin seeds—very good.

Holy crap, this guy basically had my dinner in ice cream form:

["Rhubarb and Peanut Butter Curry Ice Cream" by bradluster on Flickr.]