Monthly Archives: April 2010

DISCOVERY OF THE UNKNOWN

I think this was the first meal I made after I moved to Portland — it already feels so long ago. Since then I’ve learned a lot about portion sizes for cooking single meals, because I had leftovers for DAYS! Kale flash fried in butter and garlic, finished with lemon; red cabbage slaw tossed in lime juice; chickpeas fried with red onion, cumin, lemon, oil and parsley. Not even cooking, really. Just admiring the ingredients and adding salt.

I’m planting my garden today. It’s going to be wee, but I’m so excited. I even bought a catnip start for Joni so that I can enjoy her stoney hi jinx every day.

Truly, truly you couldn’t speak of discovery of the unknown unless you were unknowing. You have to make a room inside your own ego for what you don’t yet understand, and hold open the possibility that this is what you’re actually looking for. And that then becomes a very personal matter rather than a universal one, because you can’t account for what other people don’t know. But you can acknowledge inside yourself those things which you did not perceive until the encounter forced you into a recognition. You cannot keep score of that for anyone else, but you can acknowledge transformation of your own perception by experience. When you find something about yourself, you don’t throw it away, it’s a treasure. It’s symbolically very important because it acknowledges a transformation in yourself.

Emmit Gowin, from a truly amazing interview. [via BOMB]

ON THE DIAGONAL

The other day I roasted some beets and my housemate was like, ‘I have never met anyone who eats more beets than you do,’ and shook his head. Totally a title I’ll accept with honor.

Just discovered my new favorite way to eat beets: roasted in the oven for an hour at 400 degrees until slightly soft – just a little too long, just a little overcooked. Although I normally like my beets al dente - with a bit of a bite, something a little toothier – in this sandwich it’s so much nicer when the beet gives way in your tongue. It’s almost like a pate, smooth and rich and creamy. I sliced the beet into thin wedges as you would an apple or pear, and then tossed with lemon juice and cilantro and salt. Layered on top of toasted bread (farm rye above, but yesterday I did this with a baguette, too) and some kind of creamy cheese (chevre, brie), and then I ate the rest of the beets as a side salad (redundant).

I also love random vegetable roasts of leftovers: in this case, an old potato, carrot knobs, and some brussels sprouts, tossed with butter and cumin and black pepper and roasted at high, high heat.

I’m not the only one who loves beets! Joni is maybe the only cat I’ve owned that’s loved vegetables this much. I knew we were soulmates, she and I.

And yes, I ate this meal in bed. It ruled.

PAIRINGS

Thanks to this, I really need to roast lamb and drink pinot noir together.

Portland friends, buy all yr wine at Cork.

Reading about wine (and drinking it) is WAY more fun when food enters the picture.

GOLDEN GIRLS

I love these colorful boat shoes for the summer. They look so comfortable and easy. I used to have a crazy collection of cheap sneakers when I was a teenager – converse, simple, vans, jack purcells, keds, adidas sambas. My favorite pair of sneakers ever were these Converse low tops from 4th grade – they were bright teal green and had navy gingham lining on the inside. Obviously everyone was super jealous. My second favorite pair of sneakers were plain black converse all-stars. Eventually I had to duct tape the soles together so they wouldn’t disintegrate. They did anyway. I drew cartoons on the rubber soles and hid the initials of boys that I liked, erasing them when I was done with the crush.

[All photos via Keep]

SPRINGTIME CAN KILL YOU

Kudos to the Potato Perspective, because when I was at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning I picked up a sack of super ugly purple-black potatoes at only $1/lb. An old grizzly gent had artfully (not) arranged a mess of root vegetables on a huge wooden table – potatoes of all stripes, grubby parsnips, knotted carrots, dingy beets, all mixed together, all a dollar a pound. But once washed and scrubbed of grit, the papery, thin medallions of potato looked so special.

In a skillet fried at low heat with a big pat of butter, tubes of green onions and smoked paprika they turned a less appetizing rusty brown color. They were still rich and creamy, particularly when paired with a fast saute of spring vegetables: chiclet-sized bites of asparagus, ribbons of leftover swiss chard, and diced sweet onion flash fried at high heat with olive oil and lemon. I was tempted to throw the entire mess into a pot and puree into a creamy soup but I was hungry and so it was.

FRANCES MAY LOVE

Amaaaaaazing news. My replacement camera cable finally arrived in the mail. Thanks, CellularFactory! It was even cheaper than eBay.

After spending a few wonderful hours at Powell’s books, I made my first trip to Frances May which is just a few blocks away. Why did I wait so long! Amazing shop and such a sweet sales staff but best of all they the most comprehensive Rachel Comey shoe collection I’ve ever seen in person. I finally tried on the Rachel Comey horticulturalist’s mac I’ve admired online, and unsurprisingly, it is totally ridiculous in real life. It runs true to size, I think (I tried on a large and it was way too big; they only had an XS and a L – I wish they had  S and a M for me to try on) and feels utilitarian but looks super chic. But who can justify $500 on a coat when summer is almost upon us?

Then I tried on a million Comey and Steven Alan dresses and wistfully thought about what it would be like to win the lottery. Siiiigh.

AN ILLEGAL POTATO

I am deeply inspired by the mission of Potato Perspective, a site that painstakingly traces the juridical status of potato varieties in the EU. Its creator, Åsa Sonjasdotter, started growing traditional species of potato in Øresund, between Sweden and Denmark, but because the species she planted weren’t on the EU’s list of potato varieties, technically her cultivation of them commercially was illegal.

She did a little research on why that was and suggests that the potato is a ‘global migrant’ (its origins are in South America) that is at the mercy of crazy global trade agreements and laws of genes and registrations. (“The descendants of the wild plant from the Andean mountains that I grew turned out to be potential criminal goods,” she writes).

To someone that doesn’t know the least bit about food laws (ie, meeee!), the rhetoric behind it borders on the totally ridiculous and nonsensical, especially because the humble potato is the least controversial vegetable that I can think of. To wit: “Today these old-fashioned varieties face restrictions imposed by the registration regulations of the EU. Most of them are forbidden to grow commercially, the reason being that no one wants to register them. And if you are not a registered potato in EU, you might become an illegal potato.”

An illegal potato! But what initially captivated me was Sonjasdotter’s stunning, glowing photographs – so much rare beauty hewn straight from the murky dirt. These photographs give potatoes a distinct non-potato quality; a fantastical, ethereal embodiment of our most humble starch. Wouldn’t you love to try all these crazy varieties? Earth-bound jewels, on the tip of our tongue…

IN LIVING COLOR

Spring is in full force here, and all I think about it seems are fruits, vegetables and flowers. Yesterday I made my first trip to Uncle Paul’s Produce Market and spent less than 15 dollars on a gigantic bag of groceries: ‘jazz’ apples, golden pears, mushrooms, golden beets, crimson carrots, rainbow chard, spanish onions, fingerling potatoes. Everything except the apples and pears made it into a huge pot of vegetable soup, the contents of which I’m still enjoying.

While I was there, I had my eye on the fava beans, which are on sale and in season. Going to go back tomorrow to stock up and spend the afternoon shucking. Also saw some gorgeous plums – just in time for my famous free-form galettes – and huge glass mason jars of in-house jam and honey.

Anyway this is all to say that post-produce shopping, I feel super vulnerable to the charms of this shirt. I’m not really a ‘tshirt girl’ but I’ve found that they can be quite persuasive…

[Image via Built by Wendy]

DRY STRIKE

Rachel Comey was lightly profiled earlier this week in the NYT. Besides being a brilliant designer – I still can’t stop thinking about the Navigator dress Jennifer wrote about earlier this month – she is drop dead gorgeous and I am into the contents of her refrigerator.

What’s in your refrigerator? Parsley, sourdough yeast, vinho verde, my grandmother’s pearls (I’ve been robbed and afterwards someone told me the fridge is the best place for your good jewelry. Of course, now I’ll have to move them.)

[via Mohawk General Store]

She designed my springtime uniform. Primary colors and hopeful wishes and youthful brushstrokes and silken scalloped-edged short-shorts, so much spice and sweetness.

[via Creatures of Comfort]

PS This is borderline OD-ing on the Rachel Comey mentions that happen here, but I also found a post on Jeana Sohn’s blog about her weekend home in Long Island – formerly a laundromat – as photographed for the now-defunct Domino magazine. Love the printed couches, green banisters and scuffed wood floors.

JUST AS I SHOULD BE

What could be better than knowing people in the world who make you feel exactly like this, so drawn into messy pastel colors and contented knowing smiles.

Happy spring.

[via ffffound]