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oatmeal made alluring

By on Mar 15, 2014 in breakfast, for one | 0 comments

Oatmeal. What, not tantalizing enough? Nutella. Now I have your attention. You love it, right? Everyone does. I make it from scratch on a regular basis. But one cold winter morning, I had none. And I wanted it. And there was no way I was venturing out into the zero degree morning to get the ingredients to make some. Rummaging about, I decided to make oatmeal, a lovely bit of steel-cut oats I make on a fairly regular basis. Oatmeal, notably, is not nearly as sexy sounding as Nutella. To put it in perspective, my mother refers to my steel-cut oats with the not so flattering moniker of “Colon Blow,” but she means no disrespect to their flavor (or nutritional value.) After years of making them, despite knowing the time it takes to make them, anything less seems like eating lightly seasoned wallpaper paste. As I pulled out the ingredients for the base oats, I clapped eyes on my unsweetened...

breathe in the fennel

By on Oct 12, 2013 in dinner, for one, love, quickie, salad, unprocessed october, vegetarian | 0 comments

“Eat your salad.” It is a refrain most of us have been hearing since childhood, and as adults we do (mostly) understand we should probably be eating more vegetables, but in reality, most of us view the act of eating salad as drudgery. Some sad little bowl of pale lettuce with a viscous bottled dressing poured over it, all hoovered down with one eyeball on the main plate, which is all you really care about. That is what most people encounter when they think of salad. This just makes me sad. When I eat a salad, I make it an event, piling mixed greens with exotic sounding names into a bowl the size of my torso, throwing whatever veggies I can get my hands on. Invariably, the cool delicate crunch of a cucumber gets involved. A sliver or twelve of red onion, perhaps briefly pickled in some red wine vinegar. Some sweet little tomatoes. If goat cheese happens to be in my fridge,...

springy spinach awakening

By on Apr 7, 2013 in dinner, experimenting, for one, love, vegetarian | 0 comments

  It is unclear to me how January 1st became some marker for a brand new year, particularly living here in the Midwest. All those resolutions, made giddily (or ponderously) the night previous, just inebriated enough to not notice the freezing temperatures outside. All these grand plans, fueled by this energy found solely in the idea that the year has flipped from 2012 to 2013. And then in the quite literal cold light of dawn, what you really want to do is curl up under that comforter on the couch with a cup of tea and watch reruns on television. Which is pretty much what you did the day before. You might get roused again around Groundhog’s Day, along with that lying rodent who relies solely on the random chance of sun being in the sky to tell us if we can look forward to a time sans bleak grey skies and naked brown trees. In recent winters with so little pretty blanketing...

noodling around

By on Dec 16, 2012 in dinner, experimenting, for one, love, vegetarian | 0 comments

It has been a while, hasn’t it? I was reminded of this by a few friends the other day over beer, who encouraged me to get at it again, and where the hell have I been? Many, many months ago, I embarked upon a freelance job that involved the election in November. Slowly, slowly, I watched the summer slip away while I remained indoors parked in front of dual 24″ monitors, the unnatural blue glow helping me to maintain the look of a pale fish in the middle of a summer of record heat. As a part of my increasingly vampiric existence, food became something scooped out of tin foil pans and shoveled in mindlessly with plastic forks. My favorite season wherein I could giddily run around a farmer’s market and buy obscene amounts of fresh veggies, and I was spending it eating scads of starchy takeout, because even my staunch home-cooked-dear-sweet-christmas-not-out-of-a-box food...

after the rush

By on Oct 18, 2011 in dinner, experimenting, for one | 0 comments

It had been a couple of weeks since the vegetables had been addressed. Many of them, having seen the colorful forms of mold forgotten polenta could achieve in the dark depths of a neglected refrigerator, simply fell into compost-ready oblivion. But the peppers were blessedly still there, gleaming red and gold. Before there was any chance to protest, they were roasted, the blistering skin emitting a scent not unlike freshly fallen leaves. A perfect fall dish, but what else had survived that could accompany it? There, a red onion had escaped the fate of so many other neglected vegetables. A shallot, too! The spicy alliums were wedged and set to cook, long and slow, in a luxurious bath of fruity olive oil. Potatoes, ever the survivor of the most brutal refrigerator disaster, were scrubbed up, fresh skins almost glowing. They were quickly diced, tossed with more olive oil and a hit of salt...

polenta redux

By on Oct 2, 2011 in dinner, for one, love | 0 comments

It was a Tuesday with a solo diner. It would be all to easy to heat up a bowl of canned soup, pour it into a bowl, and squash into the couch, mindlessly slurping while watching reruns of shows already seen and deemed not that great. But why? Even the solo diner deserves the respect of a little plating. On the bottom shelf of the refrigerator lies a beautiful chilled dish of polenta, the leftovers of the evening previous. A few mushrooms still roost in a paper bag, a shallot with dirt from the field still clinging to it sleeps quietly amongst the onions and potatoes in the bottom-most drawer. And in the door sits a half-drunk bottle of white wine, singing of its quiet bubbles. A few triangles of polenta are cut out, lightly bathed in olive oil, and stuck under a low broiler, where the flickering blue flames warm the slices and crisp the top. The shallot is swiftly peeled and wedged and...