Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tinned Tomatoes' Chickpea & Tomato Salad

Upon getting back from a weekend in Portland, I opened up one of the crisper drawers in the fridge to reveal two avocados languishing in the bottom. I got those for a specific recipe, now what was it? . . . oh yeah, one of my favorite lunchtime staples: the Chickpea & Tomato Salad from Holler's Tinned Tomatoes blog! I love this simple, crunchy salad. So will you.

[Oh, I should forewarn that I'm not going to be printing actual recipes much on this site. I encourage folks to use the recipes from the original sites that I link to instead. There are so many good food blogs out there and I think exploration is fun!]

I cut up the cucumber, cilantro, and red onion, and added it to the two cans of chickpeas and the can of diced tomatoes I'd already plopped in the bowl. Yep, I used canned tomatoes for this--in short, I didn't have any fresh tomatoes on hand and refused to be set back by it. I also added a red pepper that was getting all wrinkly and lonely. Into this bowlful of goodness go the avocados!

Here t'is, all mixed up next to the recipe on my laptop.

Colin usually watches me cook while sitting on the counter behind me. It's pretty dang cute even though HE'S A VERY BAD CAT THAT IS NOT ALLOWED ON THE COUNTER, NOT EVER.

Here's my deviation from this recipe. I'm not proud of it because it is a deviation born of laziness. I use store-bought dressing for this salad. The first time I ever made it, I didn't have any honey and saw this dressing sitting unopened in the cupboard. I pulled it out, mulled it over, and decided to go for it. It was a stroke of sheer genius on my part; this dressing was made for this salad. I'm sure any brand of sweet-ish poppyseed dressing will do.

Add a few squirts in and voila! A fantastic summertime salad, perfect for my take-to-work lunches in my Mr. Bento lunchbox. What, you are not familiar with Mr. Bento or bento lunch boxes? There's a whole new world out there for you, my friend. I highly recommend them, especially if you are interested in portion control. Here's what the Mr. Bento looks like:

So this salad will fill one container. What about the rest? I ended up putting homemade mushroom soup in the largest one, a cut up apricot in the third, and cut up mozzarella and radishes in the fourth. I know, that's weird, but you have to get creative sometimes to fill them all up. One of the ideas with the bento is to fix a variety of foods, so your palate doesn't get bored and you get different nutrients, etc.

Until next time!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sher's Scallion Ginger Chicken Linguini

I first started blogging in December 2005 when I was unemployed and bored. I pretty immediately turned to looking up recipes online, to feed my new-found craving for cooking from scratch. The first food blog I fell in love with was Chocolate & Zucchini. The next was What Did You Eat? I don't remember how I stumbled upon Sher's blog in February 2006, but I fell in love instantly. My recipe bookmark folder filled up with her recipes. She didn't have much at that time, as she had only been blogging a few months herself, but enough to make me realize I'd found a kindred spirit in tastes. Later, I followed her into Weekend Cat Blogging and Colin, my new upstart kitten, became the star of my old blog.

It's 2 1/2 years and many posts/comments/emails later, and Sher has passed on. She died less than a week ago. I found out today after I clicked on her blog to see if she'd posted anything new. When five days had passed and nothing, I was concerned. I knew she was in ill health and the last time she let so much time pass without blogging, she was in the hospital. No, it was the unthinkable. There's a big hole in my heart. My kitchen is feeling that big without her.

I emailed my husband Barrett the news and his reply was, "Is there a tribute meal you wanna do together tonight?" He knows me so well.

A small part of me thinks that I should make this, since she created this recipe with me (and Anne) specifically in mind. And I will make this soon. But I truly feel there's only one tribute meal I can do to honor Sher tonight and that's the first recipe of hers I made: her Scallion Ginger Chicken Linguini. Whenever I make it, and the smell of the scallions and ginger fills the air, my kitchen doesn't feel so big after all. She's right there with me.

"What's for dinner, guys?!"

The meat inspector checks for bacteria and deliciousness.

The chopping of the greens. I adore chopping scallions.

Sher suggested one cup of scallions, but I can't resist--I have to throw in more. And yeah, jarred ginger. So sue me! I loathe peeling and chopping up roots. Besides, the pureed ginger works really well in the "sauce."

The chicken is all ready to go.

In go the green onions and ginger . . .

And then the linguini, soy sauce, sesame oil, etc.

And the final touch, one of Sher's most favorite flavorings, THE CILANTRO!

The inspector sniffs the final result and approves, despite the distinct lack of tuna in this dish.

Here's to you, Sher, you fantastic lady. You will never be forgotten. And just in case there was any doubt, check out all the tributes to you over at your dear friend Glenna's.


So, yeah, I needed a project blog. Writing about my dull, everyday life at Westering Hills just wasn't cutting it for me. I need some focus, some purpose, even if that purpose is just to add another damn food-related blog into the vast sea of existing food-related blogs.

I almost didn't do this. I came up with this idea a few weeks ago, created the account (with a different and now-discarded title) a week ago, and then sat on it. Why am I doing it? What point of view will I take? Who will give a crap? It was only after hearing about the death of a friend that I was jolted out of my penchant for over-introspection. Who cares why I'm doing it, who cares if I do or do not have a POV, and who cares who gives a crap? I here and I want to do it. End of story. Man, it takes a long time for me to realize the basics in life!

I'm not exactly sure what path this will take. I will post recipes. I will take crappy photos of the food I make and eat. I will take crappy photos of the cats poking around in the kitchen, or other parts of the house. It's pretty much a guarantee that I will be taking crappy photos period, since our camera is crappy. Also, I will be writing haphazardly and wantonly, possibly even briskly and without pause for spellcheck and grammar police. Hell, I MIGHT NOT EVEN WRITE ABOUT FOOD. As Cartman once said, "I do what I want!"

Enjoy. Or don't. Your call.