Posts tagged ‘food’
Brian and I spent most of our time in Philly in the Old City. We did a ton of walking in that area alone. However, I couldn’t quite resist making the hike to Center City to see Reading Terminal Market. How could I forgo checking out “the best, freshest and liveliest public market since 1893”?
In short, it was everything I hoped it would be. Tons of vendors, amazing looking fresh food, variety, ethnic cuisine. I very nearly decided to move to Philadelphia for the market alone. It was a good thing we didn’t have a cooler with us or a fridge in our hotel because I would’ve spent a fortune on food. I’ll stop rambling and just get to the photos, because they express my feelings much better:
Reading Terminal Market: definitely a Philadelphia foodie must see.
It seems almost unbelievable, but my spring break is just about over. It’s Sunday night, I’m watching Iron Chef. “Battle Butter”?! I should go to bed, get back in the “school routine” and work towards getting over this cold, but I’m too intrigued.
My Man and I didn’t cook as much as I intended to over break (actually, we didn’t do several things I intended to–breaks apparently aren’t as long as they used to be). We did create one great olive-tomato-and-cucumber salad (all his idea) and we made broiled polenta with cheese on top. I’d never have polenta before, and it’s not bad. Definitely worth considering various ways to use in the future.
Lots of good conversation was had during the past week about food and related issues. How we want to shop, what we want to eat, local vs. organic vs. quanity of produce. Eating was a lot simpler when I didn’t know anything. Now every shopping trip is filled with questions and options. I know I’m not doing as well as I could be and I remain hopeful that living with someone whose tastes and food interests are more similar to one and playing more of a direct role in the shopping and cooking will improve things. I’ve finally started reading Food Matters by Mark Bittman and it’s really eye opening, but sometimes having so much information is overwhelming and guilt inducing. But I remind myself again, doing something (eating meat one less time a day, purchasing grains in bulk, eating more produce) is meaningful, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
In other news, 2 months until the wedding :)
In 2000, my family and I moved from New Jersey, where we’d spent the previous 15 years, to Maine. I’d be hard-pressed to go back, though I could be tempted by the fact that @afoodcoma tweeted “north jersey becoming “foodie focal-point” as basically every major gourmet/organic food chain moves in” with a link to this article yesterday.
But that aside, I honestly don’t miss it much. Until I saw this delicious article from Endless Simmer’s tvff about Taylor’s Pork Roll.
If you have never been to New Jersey and had Taylor Pork Roll, you should go. Now. I haven’t been back to New Jersey since 2003, but suddenly I’m considering a trip. It used to be that whenever friends of ours were coming north to visit, we’d have them bring us Taylor Ham, not to mention some good rolls. Good bulkie rolls simply do not exist in Maine, not the way they do in Jersey. Good stuff.
Thanks tvff for reminding me what I’m missing. Maybe I’ll ask some of the wedding guests to bring some up this summer, screw the registry.
The New York Times printed an article yesterday titled “It’s Organic, but Does That Mean It’s Safer?” The article is really interesting; it’s a good question, and the answer’s a little scary. The article explains the common misconception that food marked with the “certified organic” seal is safer than other products. However, even organic foods were tainted by the recent peanut butter/salmonella mess and being certified organic doesn’t necessarily mean that food is safe. The article notes,
“Because there are some increased health benefits with organics, people extrapolate that it’s safer in terms of pathogens,” said Urvashi Rangan, a senior scientist and policy analyst with Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports. “I wouldn’t necessarily assume it is safer.”
So…here I am. Once again trying to define what it means to eat better. Does it mean eating less meat, because Americans consume more meat than is needed for good nutrition and meat production adversely affects the environment? I’ve stopped eating meat at lunch and I’m feeling good about it and not even really missing it, but I need to add more fruits and vegetables and eat less carbs. I have a friend who gave up processed sugar last year, extolling the health benefits, should I do that? I’m a bit of a chocoholic; I don’t think I could do that. Does it mean eating more? A nurse recommended to me last year that I put on some weight (I’ve always been thin).
Should I only eat locally grown food? Obviously, local doesn’t mean organic either. It’s all very confusing:
Some shoppers want food that was grown locally, harvested from animals that were treated humanely or produced by workers who were paid a fair wage. The organic label doesn’t mean any of that. (also from the NY Times article)
At this point in my exploration of food, I’m more concerned with eating complete meals, increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables and decreasing my meat intake. But articles like this one make me wonder if I’m doing all I can and should be to improve my health and use my purchasing influence for the right causes. I’m hoping Mark Bittman’s Food Matters will shed some more light on the subject, but I suspect it will be a while before I get it from the library; every copy in the system is checked out. At any rate, his interview on The Colbert Report yesterday was pretty good. Check it out.
Thanks to Serious Eats for the NY Times link.
Despite last week’s baking near-miss, I gave it another shot this week. If my students will eat half-cooked brownies, there’s probably not much I can do wrong. Generally speaking, I don’t think baking is my thing; I’m not really into eating baked goods, so spending lots of time making them doesn’t make tons of sense to me. But I feel like its a skill I should hone and I suspect high schoolers aren’t too into vegetarian pasta dishes as an after school snack. I may as well practice on people who will enjoy whatever I create.
Once again, I got my weekly ego boost. I could really get used to this. I made really simple white cupcakes from my mother’s old Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook and it was really easy and went really well! I did “cheat” and use canned frosting, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. At least someone is raving about my food (I know high school boys eat anything…but they don’t always dish out compliments!)
In summary: I can bake after all–from scratch even! If I can do it, you can do it. And I’m making cookies for our next meeting.
My apologies to those who are pretty sure I’ve made this recipe already…olive oil, garlic, canned tomatoes…I’m sure its starting to sound familiar to any frequent readers of my blog. Nevertheless, that’s the direction this recipe’s headed; I’m just warning you. However, it does satisfy my new promise to myself: vegetarian lunches.
This recipe is adapted from The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook: 350 Essential Recipes for Inspired Everyday Eating by Jack Bishop. I borrowed the cookbook from the library, but may have to purchase soon because I really like it. It’s different from other vegetarian cookbooks I’ve used because none of the recipes include tofu, tempeh, or seitan, which I’m sure are all well and good, if you like them, but my foray into vegetarianism hasn’t quite gotten that bold. The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook is full of variations of normal sounding food made with normal sounding, generally ordinary and accessible ingredients.
Anyway, without further ado: Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Olives and Capers
Extra-virgin olive oil (about 3 tbsp.)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried hot pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped*
1 3.8-ounce can sliced black olives
1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
1 lb. spaghetti (I used whole wheat spaghetti)
Salt, to taste
*The original recipe lists canned whole tomatoes, chopped but if I make this recipe again I may use canned diced tomatoes because chopping the whole tomatoes was a rather messy experience. But its up to you.
- Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook over medium heat until the garlic is cooked, about 2 minutes
- Add the tomatoes, olives and capers to the skillet. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes soften and the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.
- Toss the spaghetti with the tomato sauce and mix well.
As you may be able to tell from the photo, my pasta turned into little one inch sized pieces by time I was done cooking it and then reheated it once (timing was a little off at my house). I don’t know why, perhaps because it’s whole wheat pasta? Or I overcooked the pasta? Anyone else ever have this experience?
A couple of my students came in the other day with bags of popcorn. “Try this kind,” one student urged. “She’s already tried them all,” countered the other, a summer employee of Coastal Maine Popcorn Co., one of my favorite places in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
It’s true, since the store opened last spring, I really have tried almost all the flavors they sell. The gourmet popcorn shop boasts over 20 sweet and savory flavors of popcorn including Toasted Coconut, Dill Pickle, Chocolate Pudding, Salt and Vinegar, and Buffalo Wing. Additional flavors are added to their list all the time-I went in yesterday and they’ve added barbecue! They insist on giving samples to aid you in making your decision and, given my wealth of tasting experience, I can highly recommend them (I’m a big fan of Parmesan and Garlic).
Their prices are reasonable and they ship if you’re “from away”. I’ve realized over the past year that this unique popcorn also makes a great gift: hostess gifts, party snacks, thank you presents…I even just sent some off as a Valentine’s Day gift! So if you love popcorn, check out Coastal Maine Popcorn Company…and if you don’t love popcorn, you will!