Thursday, May 31, 2007

taste of summer

1. "Swallow-Them-All Banana Balls" (Everyday Vegan by Dreena Burton)

These were really easy and fun to make. Apples, dates, banana, coconut, flax meal, almond butter, and corn flakes are rolled into balls between your palms, which are then rolled around in carob powder and/or coconut.

2. Aztec cereal

That's the crunchy yellow breakfast cereal by Erewhon. It has corn, amaranth, apple juice, sea salt, and nothing else. Eliza is crazy for this stuff.

3. ambrosia melon & blueberries

I'm not sure how ambrosia melon is different from cantaloupe, but it was perfectly sweet and delicious. The blueberries were from Stehly Farms Organics in North County and perfect. Blueberries are my favorite fruit of all, but they have been crazy expensive all season so far. Just last week, a tiny container went for $8 or $9 at Whole Foods, but this week they were $2 at the co-op. It looks like Stehly doesn't sell at any of this county's farmers' markets though. Bummer. I'll have to hope the co-op keeps getting a steady crop for weeks (months? I dare not hope) to come.

4. "Quick Lemon-Garlic Quinoa Salad" (Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair)

When I thought about what to do with the red quinoa, this was the first thing that came to mind. I make this salad (with typical quinoa) once a month or so. Most of the ingredients are raw (only the quinoa is cooked) and tastes best chilled or at room temperature, so it does well for lunch box or picnic fare. There was only a subtle flavor difference between the red quinoa and the usual suspect, so I think I prefer the cream-colored quinoa for visual appeal if nothing else (the brown-red quinoa makes it difficult to see the carrots, sunflower seeds, and parsley).

I almost forgot - I substituted Udo's DHA for part of the olive oil and the flavor was still very good. I wouldn't replace more than half since there's nothing like the fruity flavor of quality extra-virgin olive oil.

* * * * *

Fruit is without a doubt my favorite part about summer. I'm miserable when the temperatures rise above 80 (although the 80s sound pretty good compared to the day last summer I was stuck in Escondido the afternoon it hit 115 and the power went off for hours), so fresh fruit is my consolation.

Eliza's favorite fruits of May have been the various melons. Although she vacuums up them all, her favorite is watermelon, or as she says, "waduh-muhmuh." I like melons alright, but I'm really a berry person (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries - in that order). I was thinking that for my monthly dessert, I'd like to make the "Sexy Low-Fat Vanilla Cupcakes with Raspberries" from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. They are the cutest things with upside-down raspberries adorning the top and just a trickle of glaze.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

crazy fruit

This week's trip to the co-op brought a few new finds.

First, after reading cookbook author Dreena Burton's post about a vegan DHA oil blend, I decided to give it a shot (good timing - my supplements just ran out). Dreena says it tastes "clean," which is good to hear since I have to disguise straight flax oil (such as in the fabulous sesame-miso vinaigrette from La Dolce Vegan!).

Second, I hadn't intended to buy any quinoa (having so much in my pantry), but I've never seen quinoa like this. The "grains" are considerably smaller than typical quinoa and possess an earthy red-brown hue.

Finally, that large green fruit that looks like it's wearing armor is a cherimoya. According to the Wiki article, "The fruit is fleshy and soft, sweet, white in color, with a custard-like texture, which gives it its secondary name, custard apple. Some characterize the flavor as a blend of pineapple, mango and strawberry." I had no idea what it was when I spotted it, but since it was organically grown in local Escondido, I thought the mystery fruit was worth a shot.

Cherimoyas have their own website - who knew? - complete with eating suggestions. Once it's fully ripened (it should get softer like an avocado), I'll cut it in half and we'll all eat half raw and put the rest in the freezer, since the website says it's ice cream-like. Hmm, we'll see. I hope it's Organic-Rice-Divine good and not soy-ice-cream lame.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

can't catch me!

"Run, run, fast as you can. Can't catch me... I'm the ginger man." Her chanting would have been more charming if she hadn't been acting it out at the grocery store. No wonder it took me two hours to get out of there.

Friday, May 11, 2007

just my luck

Every time I think of something to post, I've forgotten what that was by the next time I have time alone with the cursed laptop (its AC connection is so wonky that it goes into hibernation mode every 20 seconds to 5 minutes, making composing a simple e-mail difficult).

Kvetch #1: On Tuesday, I spoke with the bike shop manager, who informed me that he could put on a temporary fork. I told him as wonderful as that sounds, we couldn't afford a few hundred dollars at the moment. "Oh, no," he protested, "cost of labor only." I was confused because I was told a few weeks ago that it would cost hundreds by an employee, who was himself confused. We fork over the fork when the permanent part arrives from Timbuktu. He continued, "it will be ready for you within the hour." I was speechless to think that these two months stuck at home could have been avoided for $20.

Although the bike shop is just two blocks away, the errand took nearly two impossibly long hours. Eliza outright refused to hold my hand despite traffic roaring by at 50+ mph. I literally had to carry all 32 pounds of her most of the way there - my back was crying. The way back was even worse as she still refused to hold my hand, but that time, I had a bike to steer in addition to an angry diva. When she wouldn't budge for anything, I had no choice but to sit and stay until she decided to move a few more feet; I couldn't carry her and steer the bike. It was so much easier making trips to the bike shop when I could just plunk her in a mei tai (yes, I know it's technically still possible, but she's so heavy now).

I arrive home exhausted and miserable, but at least the bike was fixed. The car was mine on Wednesday! I wish I could have gone somewhere more exciting, but I needed to make a trip to the co-op, and it was either then or at night. No problem - I was planning to go E's playgroup's craft day on Thursday. Little did I guess that DH would leave for work on his bike Thursday only to return five minutes later . . . with a flat tire! Since he got a flat tire just two days before March's crash, that means he got a flat two of the last five days riding the bike.

I could have gotten the flat fixed Thursday, but I wasn't about to have a repeat of Wednesday afternoon's adventure. So I went back to being housebound for a couple more days.

Kvetch #2: One of the few places we can go within walking distance is music class. DH dropped us off (along with the stroller) in the morning. All was going well in class until Eliza came crashing down on my lap at an angle, literally knocking my kneecap out of its joint!* I shrieked in pain. It was only a mild dislocation, which snapped back immediately, but my reaction frightened Eliza badly. For ten minutes, I held her as tears streamed down her face. I reassured her that I was going to be fine, but she was so shaken that it took some time to calm down.

It took the better part of an hour to limp the mile home.

Can I add a third kvetch? During the composition of this entry, my laptop has hibernated at least a half dozen times. Next post, no kvetching - I have photos of Eliza's aquatic-muffin-duck masterpiece.

* I've had "trick knees" since ever I can remember. It's not a problem I think about much anymore because Southern California's climate means there's never ice to slip on, twisting my leg and knee - what used to be a frequent problem back east only now happens once every year or two.