a little something extra

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

The above quote comes to us from J.R.R. Tolkien. And the unexpected motif of today was: food.

It was an ordinary day. And my ordinary days ordinarily have something of a food focus anyway. There are many reasons why I like to cook -- it's creative, it's cheap, it helps keep up the variety in my vegetarian diet, I like to shop for food, and when I get to feed other people too, so much the better!

Ordinarily I only cook dinner a couple of times a week, because it then takes me several days to eat up the leftovers. I carry my lunch to work almost every single day, which uses up a lot of those leftovers. Same goes for the days when I have rehearsal or some other commitment after work that means I need to bring dinner along for the ride too.

For a while, I subscribed to Cooking Light magazine. And I cut a lot of recipes out of that resource. I mean a lot of recipes. I let that subscription lapse in 2004, and I still have a ton of recipes I haven't tried yet from that publication and other sources. There they sit, in a manila envelope on my shelf with the cookbooks, the clippings grouped into big general categories (main dishes, vegetable sides, soups, breakfast/brunch stuff, etc.) Patiently waiting their turn.

This week I pulled two new recipes from the bunch to try. The first was a cassoulet made with white beans, root veggies and faux sausage. I made that Sunday night, after visiting the farmer's market on Sunday afternoon. This was my first attempt to cook with parsnips. I felt like a birdwatcher adding a new species to her "life list."

The second new recipe was tonight, a light curry of onions and chickpeas served over garlicky sauteed spinach (another part of the farmer's market haul). I made plain brown rice to go with it. And while the cassoulet was just okay, tonight's menu was a winner!

In Tripp's Monday video blog, which I was looking forward to throughout the day yesterday, he asked for recipes and recommendations. So I posted the chickpea and spinach menu directions along to him, happy to share the good stuff I had found.

After dinner, I called a friend from the Church of What's Happenin' Now, to help me out with a delivery of -- you guessed it -- yet more food.

The Church of What's Happenin' Now has a teen group that gathers a couple of times a month. Their sessions always include dinner, which is provided for them by various other parts of the church community. This week, it's the choir's turn to feed the teenagers.

I volunteered to make soda bread. I have my late grandmother's recipe for a slightly sweet, white soda bread with currants or raisins. It's superb breakfast food, but not quite right for dinner in my opinion. What I have in mind for tomorrow's teen feast is a plain fruit-free soda bread made with half whole-wheat flour. I've made it before and it's yummy and quick. So my plan is to make two loaves tomorrow evening.

Unfortunately, the hungry teens meet before I can actually get there on Thursday. We're supposed to drop our contributions off at 6:30, at which time I will be somewhere on the 405, creeping along with the rest of the rush hour lemmings.

Since a couple of the other choir members live in my neighborhood, I emailed them today to see whether one of them could take my bread over on Thursday. One of them came right through -- and since he has kids who participate in the teen group, it's easy for him to take my bread along.

So. Food for me today, check. Food for friends today, check. Food plan for tomorrow, check. Food delivery arranged for teen kids on Thursday, check. Food food food... anybody up for Oliver?


At 9:58 PM , Blogger Benjamin said...

Oh my goodness, sign me up for curried chickpeas over garlicly sauteed spinach please! That just made my mouth water so thoroughly you'd think I hadn't eaten in days! (It is clear to anyone who has seen me recently that this is most devoutly *not* the case)

I am studying up for my next grilling exercise : slow roasted pork ribs. Every time I have ribs I think to myself "Self, you simply must add this to your repertoire!"

So, I'm studying the various internet recipes and instructions to come up with a sort of best-of approach (this is what I did with my corn, pork loin and chicken grilling recipes, all of with which I am very pleased) for pork ribs. I expect I should be ready for a first try in a few weeks.

Here's another reason why M* is family - anyone who loves food so much simply must be kin!

At 7:44 AM , Blogger Colleen said...

I agree - that sounds DELICIOUS!! Can we have that in March?

At 9:27 AM , Blogger meeegan said...

Yes, to both of you!

At 10:38 AM , Blogger Tripp Hudgins said...


I am looking forward to that recipe. Thanks again. And, you know, that's a great idea for the youth as well.

Go, Church of What's Happening Now!


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