Monthly Archives: August 2011

writer’s wednesday [benedict]

“Timmy Lee threw the carton of milk at her and it caught her square in the chest, exploded like a bomb. Milk gushed down her front, splashed the kitchen table. A few drops spattered the stovetop, sprinkled Timmy Lee. Torrey staggered back, fetched up against the refrigerator. She blinked, wiped the half-rancid milk out of her face.”

– “Hackberry” from Town Smokes, Pinckney Benedict


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nothing much better.

So I mentioned a couple of months back that Alex and I were starting to get deliveries of fresh produce, eggs and cheese every other week through Dominion Harvest. Remember me going on and on about that? Anyway, it’s been awesome It’s so awesome to come home from work to FOOD. A whole big box of it. Anyway, when Alex was gone during the week for four weeks straight for his clinical (yeah, bummer!), I always tried to make it a point to feed him really well when he was home. :)

I’m a few weeks late posting this, but here’s how we used almost our entire box in one delicious meal. But don’t worry – it was still cheaper than eating out AND we had tons of leftovers!

Gazpacho. Yes. I am totally in love with my food processor. It took this:

And turned it into this:

Which I then proceeded to stir up all together to make this:

Fresh and yummy goodness. Seriously. There’s not a bad thing in this stuff. (Oh, and on a tip from Al’s parents – add some red wine vinegar to the recipe!)

Next on the menu for that evening were Greek Mini Meat Loaves. These babies are chock full of deliciousness. I mean, OATS in meatloaf? Who would have thought? Amazing. Check out the bowl pre-mix – you can barely even see the meat! And not in a too-much-breading-in-a-crabcake way. More like in a how-did-i-ever-eat-ground-beef-without-all-this-stuff-mixed-with-it way.

And here they are, in the muffin tins post-baking – my apologies for the half-empty pan. We sort of forgot to take a pic at first because we were too busy stuffing our faces.

And of course there was tzatziki to go on top – I used Miss Smart’s recipe from here. I followed it pretty loosely, using Greek yogurt and way more cucumber than necessary. I like it like that. Doesn’t everything look so pretty and fresh?

Mmmmmm. I took a picture of Alex enjoying this delicious feast, but I won’t post it because I was too busy getting full to take a halfway decent one. So you can imagine instead.

Anyway, cook something awesome this weekend. You won’t regret it. :)


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writer’s wednesday [stockett]

“Even though she has zero kids and nothing to do all day, she is the laziest woman I’ve ever seen. Including my sister Doreena who never lifted a royal finger growing up because she had the heart defect that we later found out was a fly on the X-ray machine.”

– Kathryn Stockett, The Help

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writer’s wednesday [fey]

“Let’s talk about the hair. Why do I call it ‘yellow’ hair and not ‘blond’ hair? Because I’m pretty sure everybody calls my hair ‘brown.’ When I read fairy tales to my daughter I always change the word ‘blond’ to ‘yellow,’ because I don’t want her to think that blond hair is somehow better.

– Tina Fey, Bossypants

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one brownie at a time.

I love chocolate. It’s no secret. Give me the choice between a bag of Skittles and a Reese cup (or Snickers bar, or Hershey’s kiss, or Twix, or M&Ms) and I’ll pick [any of] the latter every time. One could say I have a problem. And so, when I found out that one of my sorority sisters from UVa started this awesome blog a couple of years ago and in turn found a link to this equally adorable online space – I was in heaven. I love healthy, fun food blogs – and all of the ones that Sarah links to fit the bill.

Anyway, I was perusing last week, and came across Brittany’s recipe for “Special Brownies.” No, it’s not what you think – but a friend of ours immediately thought the same thing. So don’t feel bad. Okay, okay – back to the point here. BLACK BEAN BROWNIES. Does that sound disgusting or what? I suppose I should admit that as much as I love chocolate – I despise beans. Except for refried ones. Smothered in so much cheese they’re practically unidentifiable. Anywho, I digress.

I had seen recipes for black bean brownies in lots of hip and trendy places over the past couple of years, and I just couldn’t bring myself to try them. I don’t know – when you hate beans as much as I do (which is a lot) it’s really hard to imagine tarnishing one of your favorite things on earth (read: chocolate) with them. So I ignored all the recipes. But when Carrie and I decided to cook dinner together last Thursday, I figured I’d go for it.

Honestly, I think it was the hot yoga that did it to me. I have officially been to class 11 times – that’s 2 – 3 times a week for the last 4 weeks! Aren’t you proud? Anyway, I figured if I’m working my butt off for multiple hours every week to try and be healthier and feel better, I could stomach the idea of possibly making brownies (YUM) just a tad better for me.

So, after our delicious dinner (of which I forgot to take pictures – sorry!) which included parmesan asparagus, pasta with basil and red peppers, and parmesan & panko crusted tilapia, we began our quest to make special brownies.

Here’s the thing – when you’re making them, they sort of look as nasty as they sound. The recipe is here (and above), so I won’t go through every little thing, but I will show you what I mean:

Yep. It’s true. You actually just dump everything into your food processor and, well, process. Scary, but it works. So anyway, I made a couple of MINOR changes to the recipe – I was afraid of any smidge of beany taste, so I added some mini semi-sweet chocolate chips in the batter pre-processing (so they got all crunched up) and on top. I made a second batch (yes, we finished the first one in three days) yesterday when Alex’s family came, and was forced to modify again – I only had 2 eggs, and it calls for three. So, thanks to Google, I figured out that I could use 1/4 cup flax seed meal and 1/4 cup cold water to substitute for an egg. HOW SWEET IT IS THAT? So I did, making it even more healthy, not a bit less tasty, and therefore exponentially more exciting. :) I mean, get real – can YOU tell the difference?

Their texture is a tiny bit different, but not in a bad way. Just different. As in – not Betty Crocker out of a box texture. Which is fine. :) I enjoyed them the way I always enjoy brownies – with a (probably too big) scoop of vanilla ice cream. I was a satisfied customer:

In case you can’t tell, there’s no brownie left in there. Knowing me, not even a crumb. It was awesome. Who knew?

Happy Monday! Go make some brownies.




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writer’s wednesday [gruen]

“An older man sits by the fire, his jaw covered with stubble, scabs, or both. He has the sunken face of a person with no teeth. We make eye contact and hold it for a long time. I wonder why he’s looking at me with such hostility until I remember I’m wearing an evening suit. He has no way of knowing that it’s about the only thing separating us. I fight an illogical urge to explain this and continue on my way.”

– Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants

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summer salsa.

As a wedding gift, Alex and I were given six beautiful heirloom tomato plants. They were tall and scrawny and about a foot and a half tall at the time of the gift (around two and a half months ago) and we planted them in our yard. There were two Sungold plants, one Green Zebra, one Garden Peach, and two that I (embarrassingly enough) can’t remember. One is a roma-like variety and the other is a more standard red. Anyway, the roma variety has “bottom-rot”, which has been a major bummer. The standard red is producing a tomato here and there, I’ve gotten a decent handful of Green Zebras and Garden Peaches, and one of the Sungold plants is doing well. The other one, on the other hand, well – see for yourself.

That’s a little blurry, but let’s just say this guy is out of control. In a good way. Check it out:

I’m telling you, these pictures don’t do it justice. This thing is the size of a small jungle. IT’S AWESOME. I pick a whole batch of tomatoes about every three days. Aren’t they pretty?

Between our tomato plants, my aunt and uncle’s tomato plants, and the every-now-and-then tomatoes that I get in my Dominion Harvest deliveries, I have been making the most delicious salsa ever. I use as many tomatoes as I have/want to use, chop up one onion, and add big slices of whatever kind of hot pepper strikes my fancy at the grocery store. I also dump in a little salt and pepper, and sometimes I squirt in a tad of lemon juice. If I’m serving it fresh, I add cilantro – but cilantro’s one of those things you either love or hate. If I’m freezing it, I leave the cilantro out. I’m not sure how the texture of the leaves would turn out post-thaw. My food processor does the rest – and VOILA! The best salsa ever.

Anywho, we have been eating this stuff like it’s our job – and since I’ve used different tomatoes each time, the batches have ranged from green to red to pink to yellow. It’s fantastic!

Do you have any favorite salsa recipes for the summer?


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