Archive for June, 2014

I’d like to think we are all insane in our own ways.

My particular insanity is not to wear socks safety-pinned to my ears in a dresser drawer filled with ice cubes while reading a copy of Atlas Shrugged backwards, though I’m sure someone is doing that right now somewhere in the world.

My insanity is usually visualizing things like the last sentence & sometimes coming up with stuff that is completely weird in the kitchen.  Like curried tabouleh(or tabouli, spell it either way, spell check is flagging it here.).

This is really easy & it stemmed from me not having lemon juice when I really wanted to make tabouleh one night and didn’t want to go back out to the store or community garden where there are some citrus trees planted.

Cook some cracked bulgar wheat.  When that is cooked fully, take about four cups of that stuff & toss it in the fridge to cool down.  While all of that is going on, mince about two cups of parsley, mince three cloves of garlic, dice four medium tomatoes, dice one enormous cucumber, and mix that all together.  That is your veggie mix for when the bulgar wheat is cooled a bit.

Once the bulgar wheat isn’t steaming or scalding hot, mix the veggie mix into it gently.  As soon as everything is pretty consistent, add one teaspoon of curry powder, about a tablespoon of olive oil, & a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.  Mix that for a bit, put some salt & pepper into it to fit your tastes, and you’re done!

It should look like this:

 

Very close shot.  I was actually eating out of the bowl at the same time.

Very close shot. I was actually eating out of the bowl at the same time.

Let it sit for about an hour to let the flavors mix & enjoy!  I put some in a tortilla with spinach & that was awesome too.  I like tabouleh a lot.

More dog pictures…..

They like grapefruit.

They like grapefruit.

They like mimicking each other.

They like mimicking each other.

They like abnormally large radishes just pulled from the community garden.

They like abnormally large radishes just pulled from the community garden.

They even like yawning on top of the couch.

They even like yawning on top of the couch.

They do like sleeping though.

They do like sleeping though.

They like sleeping A LOT.  Well, one of them does.

They like sleeping A LOT. Well, one of them does.

In the title, I promised a segue into urban adventures.  That already happened in my world.  I just walked ten miles through some pretty rough parts of town & then some pretty awesome parts of town & then some rough parts again.  I’d like to think that no one really messed with me because it really isn’t as bad as what the news makes it out to be in the real world.  I’ve been through some pretty sketchy areas in large cities all over, & I think the key to walking through it without worry is to relax & just walk.  Don’t think too hard about it, worrying about if someone is going to jump you from behind the green, overly religious house/bunker with holiday lights up spelling out something from the bible.  Be aware of your surroundings, it isn’t that bad out there, I promise.  There are a whole lot of worse places out there, and usually they are the places you expect the least.

My boss joked that it might have been my beard that made people think that I was some sort of homeless person too, immediately and abruptly losing all subtlety in his underlying intent to convince me to shave my beard.  I was wearing some pretty nice clothes that day, so it couldn’t have been my stylish mane dissuading the mugger around every corner.

Now, with the beard trimmed so that I look like a double for Adam Levine, I should try the walk again in the future.

The problem is, my beard already started growing back.

I’ll write about the urban adventures next time.  Until then, safe travels!!

Seeya!!

Seeya!!

 

If you haven’t heard of farm-to-table dinners yet, start looking around & go to a bunch.  Or start your own, it isn’t too difficult or stressful once you get the hang of it, and the rewards of seeing people enjoying some food fresh from local farms or gardens are tough to beat.

I’ve been involved in catering or cooking for years & years, but this last farm-to-table dinner that I cooked for work was the second one that I’ve headed up.  Both of them were for eighteen people & I did all of the cooking & prep work on this last one(if I can do it, you definitely can do it).

First, establish relationships with local produce vendors & work with them to figure out what exactly you are going to serve.  Get the remaining ingredients from a store if you need to(I can’t stress the point of shopping from local stores here enough too).  Prep, cook, plate & serve.  That’s it!

(Don’t forget to invite guests or distribute flyers for people to RSVP, people are mighty important here too.)

Here are some pictures from this last farm-to-table:

I like aprons.  I like knives.  I like smiling.  Nothing weird about that, right?

I like aprons. I like knives. I like smiling. Nothing weird about that, right?

 

Prep cold stuff first-this mousse needed to chill, so this was an easy start.

Prep cold stuff first-this mousse needed to chill, so this was an easy start.

Easy mousse made with chocolate chips, silken tofu, a little maple syrup & vanilla.

You can do salads too at the beginning, just watch out-if it contains vinegar in the dressing, it may start breaking down the salad with it's acids.

You can do salads too at the beginning, just watch out-if it contains vinegar in the dressing, it may start breaking down the salad with it’s acids.

A kale salad massaged with avocado & then I added some diced bell peppers, green onion, a little red onion, walnuts, lime juice and just a splash of pineapple juice.

I made a gluten-free sunflower seed bread ahead of time too so I could cut & toast it for bruschetta.

I made a gluten-free sunflower seed bread ahead of time too so I could cut & toast it for bruschetta.

In just starting with gluten-free baking not too long ago, I was somewhat stumped on how to make awesome bread in that fashion.  I’m great with regular baking & bread, but just had to jump into this all the way.  I can’t tell you the recipe, though.  I’d have to kill you.  With kindness.  & puppy kisses.

Lay out all of the plates & that should make it a little easier when plating food instead of the old assembly line/cafeteria style plating.

Lay out all of the plates & that should make it a little easier when plating food instead of the old assembly line/cafeteria style plating.

I didn’t take a picture of the northern white bean basil hummus I made, but putting it in three different bowls & then topping it with different spices is a really great way to get a diverse flavor going for it.

In the picture above, I had made some cultured cashew cheddar cheese(yes, vegan;  yes, AWESOME.), threw some grapes on plates & cut up some apples for a nice appetizer.

One of these things is not like the other....well, actually three of the plates.

One of these things is not like the other….well, actually three of the plates.

I slow cooked some quinoa for a few hours, adding bell peppers, ginger, garlic, & sweet potatoes along the way.  I did add a bit of paprika, but the quinoa itself was nice & sweet, so I didn’t want to mess around with how awesome that would be stuffed inside of the pepper & covered with a little lemon-dill white bean sauce I made last minute.  You saw the kale salad before & the bread for the bruschetta.  I just made some topping for that by chopping up some grape tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lemon juice, & a bit of salt.  Easy stuff, right?!

Upon closer inspection--AWESOME.

Upon closer inspection–AWESOME.

Dessert.  I could have done this for an appetizer though.  And an entree.  Just the whole meal.

Dessert. I could have done this for an appetizer though. And an entrée. Just the whole meal.

I made some chilled drop oatmeal quinoa chocolate chip peanut butter cookies and threw them in a bowl with some of that awesome mousse you saw in the picture way back.  This was awesome & adding a little coconut bacon to the mix was not a bad idea in the least either.

You knew I had to do a close up, right?  RIGHT??!!

You knew I had to do a close up, right? RIGHT??!!

Are you hungry yet?

Are you hungry yet?

I wore the apron the entire time.  Also, the cheesy smile.

I wore the apron the entire time. Also, the cheesy smile.

So, the dinner was a huge success.  I’d love to do this more often; on days off with friends or maybe even galavant around a grill in a park, there’s so many options here.  If you need some help with dinner(lunch, breakfast, snacks, late-night meals, brunch, desserts, picnics, etc.), I can be of assistance(pay no attention to the first picture, forget you even saw it.  There you go.).  I think, for the most part, all of the dishes were really easy to put together, but if you want to know how to make something specifically, let me know!

Other stuff:

There’s a new meetup in town.

No, really, there is.  LITERALLY.

It’s the Jacksonville Vegan Meetup, and it is going to be a fun one.  The inaugural event is titled “Local, Vegan Mob All Day Long!” & tours many of the local Jacksonville places that offer veg-friendly options.  It starts off with an awesome vegan bakery called Sweet Theory(if you haven’t heard of it yet, stop reading, go to Riverside, and buy everything.  They are that good.) & winds through town, visiting a grocery, pizza place(best in town), & a bookstore/deli before shooting off to the beaches for some farmer’s market fun, coffee, and a bar to finish it all off.  If you have July 12th off and are in the Northeast Florida area, come out & have a great time with us!!

Sometimes I think my canine companions have narcolepsy.  Not really.  They’re just like me-wound so tight sometimes that they burst with energy at every waking moment like a chipmunk on a coffee high.  When we lay down though, we are out.  Until, at least, we hear food in the distance.  Here’s some obligatory pictures.

Little Baby Alec Balllllllllldwin just sleeping.  (get the pun??  He's a BALL.)

Little Baby Alec Balllllllllldwin just sleeping. (get the pun?? He’s a BALL.)

He's going to hate this picture when he's older.

He’s going to hate this picture when he’s older.

So is Cinder.

So is Cinder.

Wait a second.  That's not a sleeping dog.  That's a wading duck.

Wait a second. That’s not a sleeping dog. That’s a wading duck.

He's walking now.  *sniffle, sniffle*  They just grow up so fast.

He’s walking now. *sniffle, sniffle* They just grow up so fast.

That’s it from me for this time, have a great time, enjoy some outdoors, and have you hugged your dog today?

Seeya!