Monday, August 25, 2008

Where the Urban Dream Life Is Going Cheap

If you live in Buffalo, or NYC, you maybe have seen this New York Magazine article already: "Where the Urban Dream Life Is Going Cheap: What could possibly make someone want to leave New York and move to Buffalo?"It tells some stories of New Yorkers who bought the dream of life in Buffalo, and a snippet about my neighbor, Newell, who is pure Buffalonian. It's good reading, and reflects a lot of things I've lived and seen.

I do love it here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Staycation

Rocks

There was outlet mall day: I got belts and shoes, and Mighty Taco.

And there was bike ride, park, Up Series day. I made pizza with sausage, onion, mushroom.

Today was errand and chore day of staycation, and totally lovely. I did laundry, gardened, got groceries and wine, ad the car washed, and read half a book. Smitty came over and gave me a copy of her new book, which is dedicated to me, in words which...well, make me cry. It's...a testament to our friendship and mutual understanding. And I'm honored by this gesture.

Smitty

Oh! And I got a lead some sweet plans/dreams I have...more later.

I made pesto, I watched the sun set, and I have a case of Checkered Cab on hand.

It truly feels like a blessed day.

***
School starts next week!

hi my name is

I got some Tupperware and some almonds and I'm ready for reference! I snuck into work today to check out my ILL and CNY books. Library life is sweet.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lighter than Air

I got my hair cut:


And I have things to get rid of: some calico (swaths big and small) and fabric in starry/astrological themes, bedding for a twin sized bed, some crafting supplies (fabric stiffening stuff, 60 white pipe cleaners, barrette clips, googly eyes). Do you need these? Email me.

***

Summer seems suspiciously over. The garden is raggedy, basil is bolting, and I bought an aster for fall color. I planted some spinach seeds for second crop. Fall library hours commence in two weeks. A cool tingle in the air pleases me.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Things I've Been Eating and Enjoying

Last week, I made this and could not stop eating it. I will make this all year long; a new favorite.

Warm Sausage and Lentil Salad

- serves 4 -

Adapted from Pork & Sons by St├ęphane Reynaud

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups green lentils, preferably Puy, the French green kind
2 links Italian sausage, about 1/2 pound
1/3 cup chopped bacon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Balsamic vinegar to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped hazelnuts (optional)
Slim bunch of chives, chopped

Procedure

1. Simmer lentils with sausage in plenty of water and a bouquet garni (French for "garnished bouquet"; optional), for 30 to 40 minutes, until the lentils are cooked through. (Other types of lentils will require less cooking time.)

2. In the meantime, saute the bacon over medium heat until browned but not crisp.

3. Combine the Dijon, olive oil, shallots, chives, and bacon with its fat in a small jar or bowl. Shake well or whisk, then add the balsamic vinegar little by little to form a vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Once cooled, slice the sausage. Toss the lentils with the vinaigrette and top with the sliced sausage. Finish with a little chopped shallot, chive, and the hazelnuts.

Right now I have this in the oven, and it smells heavenly:

Zucchini Ricotta Cheesecake

To shred the zucchini use a box grater - most micro planes are too fine, you want shredded zucchini, not mush. Feel free to play around with the "add-in" ingredients - for example, use whatever chopped herbs you like. I had dill on hand, and I like how it tastes with summer squash, so dill it was. I suspect anything from chopped olives, sun-dried tomatoes, or chives, to spices, chopped spinach, or corn could work here. Also, when I have the time and inclination I'll drain the ricotta through cheesecloth to get even more moisture out of the cake, but to be honest, most times I won't bother. Lastly, I use a springform pan here, but you could use an equivalent baking dish or deep tart pan as well.

2 cups zucchini, unpeeled & grated
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
zest of one lemon
2 large eggs, well beaten
1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
drizzle of olive oil

Preheat oven to 325F degrees, racks the middle. Butter/oil a 7-inch springform pan.

In a strainer, toss the shredded zucchini with the salt and let sit for ten minutes. Now aggressively squeeze and press out as much moisture as you can. Set aside.

In the meantime, combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, shallots, garlic, dill and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Stir in the eggs and continue mixing until well combined. Now stir in the shredded zucchini. Fill the springform pan with the ricotta mixture and place on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for sixty minutes. If there is any moisture left on top of the cake at this point, carefully use a bit of paper towel to dab it off. Now sprinkle with the goat cheese and return to the oven for another 20 -30 minutes or until the goat cheese is melted and the cake barely jiggles in the center (it will set up more as it cools).

At this point, if the cake is baked and set, but the top isn't quite golden, I'll zap it with the broiler (just about a minute) to get a bit more color on top. Remove from the oven and let cool five minutes, then release the cake from its pan. Cool completely, serve at room temperature drizzled with a bit of olive oil and a few sprigs of dill.

Serves 8.

***

I've also been eating homemade tollhouse cookies (I like the texture from shortening, but I do think butter's flavor more profound), zucchini muffins, purslane from the sidewalk, frozen gyoza, and halvah.

I also ate a variety of on-the-road food on my way to Michigan and back, nothing spectacular. I went to Auburn Hills/Oxford for an herb conference, where I got to hear herbalists (Althea Northage-Orr and jim mcdonald) in action, which was all I wanted. Very inspiring. I'm not sure yet where I'm going on this plant path, but I am on it for sure.