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the other thing i do

26 Nov

broccoliWell, there are a few others, but this here lil garden is one of my favs. And really, it’s not little. It’s huge. Sometimes a bit unmanageable. But I’ve got like my best bud who helps immeasurably: Maria. She’s like 75 and I love her. She teaches me swear words en español. And she’s kind of a hippie, so after her calling me pinche cabrona or the like, we’ll talk about whacky herbal supplements and alkaline water (the latter of which I’m wholly unconvinced and the former I’m just generally unconvinced.)
mariaThe past week was kinda rough on the plants. It poured a bunch, I’m not sure I saw the sun at all, and then suddenly Sunday was tens of degrees warmer and 100% sunnier. Everything was kinda sad. But I took pics anyway, you know, procrastination and such. You get the idea. Lots of vegetables. Gardening in San Antonio is pretty magical. You can do it year-round and it’s actually the hardest in the summer, in opposite fashion of everywhere else I’ve lived. And I dunno, I still had a ton of shit in the summer. Grocery store? Pff. Old hat.
swiss chard celery and garlicIf you’re wondering why I’m blathering about my garden and not posting about some culturally appropriated recipe (oh, I’m so offensive) it’s because I am currently in Boston and last weekend was spent in cleaning-out-the-fridge mode. I did make a roasted chile salsa (CULTURAL APPROPRIATION) but yo b, I grew all the damn peppers, and I also made calabacitas (woooo, baby). But sorry, they were all done at night. So no pics. The roasted chile salsa is fucking spicy. Success.
garlicOh, do you want to know what I’m growing right now? Okay. Broccoli, (white, orange, and purple) cauliflower, (red, white, purple, and orange) carrots, two kinds of kale, (red, green, and baby) cabbage, brussels sprouts, rainbow swiss chard, (heirloom, daikon, and uh, normal) radishes, (chiogga, red, and golden) beets, (red, yellow, and pearl) onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, snap peas, green beans, black-eyed peas, arugula, bibb lettuce, (poblano, serrano, jalapeño, sweet and hot banana, and bell) chiles, celery…ugh I don’t even know. And this is just the fall/winter stuff. We just pulled the okra and watermelon and squash plants and other summery things. So.much.shit. It’s the best.
sweet potatoes Yeah okay, bye. It’s time for me to go prep for Thanksgiving. Then eat and drink too much for pre-Thanksgiving dinner dinner. I think Samantha and I gain 15 pounds whenever we hang out. How did I live here once?


birthday food

27 Feb

I almost titled this post “Birthday Eats”. I hate “eats”. Not as much as “noms” – nothing can be worse than that – but who am I kidding. A single person should speak of “eats”. Only companies. I still love you Serious Eats.

You know what? I have no recipe because I didn’t want to come up with a recipe to make. I ended up cooking everything for my birthday party and that was enough, thank you. So instead you get to read about things I ate for my birthday (week). You probably should just become friends with me on Yelp, which seems a much more suitable place to hear what I have to say about restaurants, but oh well.

While I really love fancy tacos, I feel like fancy taco places are kind of like the equivalent of how people caught on to how wonderful lobster meat was and instead of being relegated to the lower classes, it all of sudden became $40/lb. Not that I’m all anti-bourgeoisie, I guess it just bothers me that there a lot of people that would never have gotten tacos from that bright yellow-painted, fluorescent-lighted taco place in the sketchy strip mall, and then are all now showing up in their slouchy hats, mustard yellow scarfs, and thick-rimmed glasses and asking about my political affiliation before letting me sit in their soon-to-be-vacant bar seats. Believe me, people, I knew yours from across the room.

Regardless, I enjoy better atmospheres than those strip mall taco places can offer and I enjoy some creativity with traditional food and the (hopefully) better quality meats, like the place I went with friends on Friday, Pinche Tacos. Braised pork belly taco (where the belly wasn’t as succulently fatty as it should be, but more on the spongy side), lengua, asada, and carnitas. Their tongue is cooked really well and oh how novel, the carnitas were crispy! I don’t know why most carnitas I’ve gotten are more stewed than fried.

So Sunday night, for the end of birthday week, we trudged through the snow to the opening night of Old Major, just a few blocks away. Focusing on heritage pork and sustainably-raised seafood, I’ve been excited to see this place finally open. I’m pretty alright with another farm to table kind of restaurant, especially when they even churn their own butter, like I overheard a server saying to another table. Hopefully it’s not just from shitty ultra-pasteurized cream, but perhaps I’ll bring up that snarky question next time I’m there… our waiter didn’t laugh when I tried to make a joke about their mustard seed emulsion. “Oh nice, I always emulsify my mustard seeds.” “Yes, it’s really delicious.” “…”

Despite some cardboard personalities (or perhaps mostly nervous that they’d forget anything and get fired on their first night), the whole experience was great and the food was wonderful. Nothing incredibly novel, but then I’m not really that excited by novelty. This is “elevated farmhouse cuisine” and I’d be pretty okay living in a farmhouse that has food anything like this. They butcher their own hogs, make charcuterie, and yeah apparently churn some butter. There wasn’t much evidence of nose-to-tail eating on their current menu, but maybe they’re using some of the off parts to make broths. Or are stockpiling in the freezer for the next menu iteration. Frozen pork stomach.

Old Major Denver menu

We got the pork cheeks, cassoulet, and cioppino. So it was a good birthday week. Tacos, tacos, pork, and fish. And some snowboarding in lots of fresh snow. But I’m so old.

roasted veggie tacos + grilled potato slices

13 Aug

IMG_1452Yum! These tacos are one of my favorites in summer. Super easy, super cheap. It’s just the perfect meal to start off the Denver version of this blog. I’m still trying to remember to go to the farmer’s market here, since it’s so much easier to drive places, but I keep forgetting. Nonetheless, these summer veggies still tasted great, of course. I also discovered that there is a huge rhubarb plant in the back and I made rhubarb crisp with it!! Forgot to take pictures though. Whoops.

Roasted Veggie Tacos
zucchini and/or summer squash sliced 1/4 in. thick on a heavy diagonal
bell pepper cut into strips
cherry or grape tomatoes
onion sliced 1/4 in. thick
1T olive oil
salt and pepper
corn tortillas
chicken, if you want (seasoned with cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt, pepper.)

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Fresh Start

28 Jun

So, I’ll be picking this blog up again after my big move to Denver, CO. There I will hopefully have a sunnier kitchen in which to take better pictures. The blue tarp over my current kitchen skylight is a big damper.

I’ve made lots of wonderful things in the past couple months, and I’ll make them again to share, with proper sunny pictures.


2 Apr

Welcome to the blog of the kitchen that’s always crankin’! I hope you come here for recipe ideas and inspiration, and I’ll try my best to dish out both. Don’t expect to find daunting recipes or ingredients that you’ve a. never heard of or b. cost $341 a pound. However, I did once get a free vanilla bean and it nearly changed my life, so there may be one of those surfacing at some point.
Other than that, you’ll get to see what I make for dinner and hopefully you can make it too!

p.s. I’ve noticed that a lot of cooking blogs have a high proportion of baked goods. While I really like to bake, I can’t be trusted with sweet treats near me. I try very hard to avoid them, lest I make myself sick everyday until the dessert is gone. So if I post a cake, or a cookie, or a brownies recipe, know that the result will be gone from my apartment in 2.5 days or less.

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