July 24, 2013
One of the best things about being back in LA? The farmer’s markets.
Sure, there are a ton of open air markets in Paris, but a large chunk of the produce vendors get their fruits and vegetables from Rungis, a huge warehouse wholesale food market in the suburbs. This beautiful bundle of rainbow chard, on the other hand, was purchased at the Mar Vista Farmer’s Market, from a kindly gentleman from Jimenez Family Farm, who informed me that no pesticides were used in growing it — “We use bugs to kill bugs.”
I used the leaves in a sausage and sweet potato soup, and was left with the vibrant rainbow stalks. So I pickled them. Waste not, want not, right?
Added benefit: after a few days, the brine leeches a bit of the color out of the stalks, making the prettiest picklebacks ever.
March 17, 2013
I’ve been vagabonding around Paris of late, staying at one obliging friend’s apartment after another while they’re out of town, house-sitting or cat-sitting or what have you. It’s a great way to experience different parts of the city, to be sure, but it’s also a formula for feeling constantly not-quite-at-home.
There are things I do to make myself feel less like an interloper into someone else’s space: saturating the house with my favorite music; drinking inordinate amounts of tea while staring out of the windows, familiarizing myself with the view; making the kitchen smell like my kitchen.
One of the defining smells of the kitchen in which I grew up is sesame oil. My standard after-school snack when I was a little girl was a bowl of rice mixed with a bit of soy sauce and sesame oil, the distinct nutty smell of the oil amplified by the heat of the rice.
This bowl of greens and grains is like a grown-up version of my carb-bomb after school snack. Delicate Brussels sprouts leaves and crunchy coconut are tossed in an Asian-inspired vinaigrette, walked quickly through the oven just to get them toasty, and served over hot, fluffy brown rice. I know it sounds way too healthy to be exciting, but trust me: this is some seriously addictive stuff, friends.
January 20, 2013
It’s story time with Miss Diane! Gather ’round kids.
Once there was a little girl who was a very picky eater. She didn’t like spicy foods, she didn’t like foods that were “too green,” and was generally scared of foods she’d never tried before. Eventually, the little girl grew up to be a college student who, while still being a picky eater, loved to eat.
One day, the girl had a realization. If I get over my pickiness, she thought, I can eat more food! Maybe I don’t actually hate the things I don’t think I like… maybe I never gave them a proper chance.
And so she started with mushrooms. She took some plump, pretty mushrooms, and stuffed them with everything she liked: bacon, bread crumbs, cheese, garlic…
If I don’t like them stuffed with all these good things, she thought, then I probably actually hate them. She took a fat, juicy stuffed mushroom between her fingers and took a bite. She’s been loving mushrooms ever since.
November 30, 2012
The gentleman’s been watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy while home sick with the flu. Consequently, I can’t call these potatoes. I must call them po-ta-toes.
Here’s another option for the quintessential side, if you don’t want to, you know, “boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew.” Hasselback taters!
Potatoes get cut into thin slices, with just a bit of potato at the bottom holding them together. Then each slice gets a hug from from either side with butter or parmesan or garlic, then baked until the slices crisp up into delicate leaves. Excellent served with roasted chicken.