Pie and Stuff

recent grads take on food and fog

España

In June, I had the pleasure of spending a week catching up with four of my best friends from high school … in SPAIN! It was essentially all the things I normally try to do on weekends, like explore new areas, eat great food, and laugh hysterically — except it was for a whole week.

Anyway, this is a food blog, so I will restrain myself from posting pictures of nice old buildings or my friends and I making faces. Have some food:

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This is my jam

Recently, my roommate and I decided it would be fun to learn how to can food. I’m not actually sure where this fascination came from, except that is seems exciting to eat something in six months that I made last week. It’s like when you leave a dollar in your pocket and when you find it later it feels like free money.

Anyway, after doing some preliminary research, I decided to try canning with a recipe for melon vanilla jam that I had been eyeing for a while. I know home canning doesn’t immediately sound super exciting, but just wait until you are trying to pour boiling jam into boiling hot jars and screw on boiling hot lids and then try submerge the whole thing in boiling water, which then proceeds to boil over everywhere. Awesome.

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Anyway, after all that, I decided I actually like melon better when it’s not cooked. Typical.

The recipe is from a cookbook called The Preservation Kitchen, which I highly recommend. The jam goes fantastically with yogurt and I think would also be nice with cheese.

How to make amazing oatmeal

I eat oatmeal for breakfast almost every day with a cup of coffee, and it does not feel amazing. It tastes ok and I am not a breakfast-skipper. Saturday morning was no different, except that it was THE BEST.

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I was backpacking in the Sierras with some coworkers and it was our first breakfast. I hadn’t eaten much dinner the night before and I hadn’t slept well, but looking over the valley we had hiked up the previous day while eating my familiar breakfast was absolutely restorative. It didn’t matter that the coffee was Starbucks instant or that the oatmeal didn’t have real brown sugar–it was perfect. 

The point is, if you’re hungry and you’re somewhere beautiful, you could probably enjoy eating cardboard. Maybe that’s how all those energy bar brands are still in business.

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Meals are not just about the food.

The Best Oatmeal

oats

water

toppings

First, hike up a mountain.

Then, sleep on a rock in the cold.

Wake up with the sun, boil water, add oats.

Serve with toppings.

Fava bean & avocado salad

I picked up some fresh fava beans at the grocery store about a week ago, deciding I should finally learn how cook them.

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Why did I not try them for so long? Is it because you have to peel them not once, but twice? No, I actually love mindless and tedious tasks. Was I worried I wouldn’t like them? No, I knew they would be delicious.

It was because I saw this my freshman year of college:

And that scene stuck in my mind. And I slept with the lights on that night. And that was what I thought of whenever I heard the words “fava beans”. And last week I decided it was time for me to associate them with something delicious and wholesome and not terrifying.

Hence, this salad:

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It was tasty and fresh and easy, but I think it would still be nice enough to serve to others.

For example, if you have an old friend for dinner.

 

Recipe(ish):

fava beans

avocado

vinegar of your choice

salt

fresh herbs of your choice

Peel the fava beans from their outer shell. Cook them in boiling water for about 30 seconds to a minute. Take them out, peel the individual beans from their skins. Mix with cut avocado. Dress with fresh herbs, a dash of vinegar, and a pinch of salt.

The “Garden”

Upon moving to California, the thing I was most amazed by is that you see food growing all around you. People have orange trees in their front yards. I can’t explain why, but I think it’s amazing. It’s a little like in college when I would see rabbits casually hopping around campus. I never adjusted to the fact that it was totally normal to see them–instead, whenever I saw one I would think “Oh my god, a little BUNNY! WOW!”

And now it’s “Oh my god, ORANGES! I want them!”

Every single time.

However, I am not guaranteed to be anywhere for more than a year or so, and I have minimal plant skills. Having my own front yard orchard seems pretty far off. But, we did decide to make use of the empty pots strewn around the concrete back yard for some less ambitious plants: sage, strawberries, rosemary, chives, carrots, and lettuce.

Kristen with plants

Kristen the roomie carries the plants back home

Then, about a week ago, while watering the plants, I noticed something very exciting…a baby strawberry!

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And yesterday, we decided it was time to harvest. I googled “how to tell if strawberries are ready to pick”. It looked like this:

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It was delicious.

Stay tuned for when we finally have enough lettuce to make 1/8th of a salad.

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San Francisco Sourdough

breadLoaf

 

This seems like a good place to start, so let’s start with the starter. Dad gave me a cookbook called “Mastering Fermentation” (check it out here) which has resulted in many fun adventures and mason jars full of weird smelling stuff all around the apartment. One such jar is the jar full of sour dough starter, which is pretty cool because it makes use of the wild yeast that’s all around, and when properly handled can last for years and be passed down to future generations. It takes about the same level of maintenance as a goldfish, but is tastier and we haven’t named it.

Anyway, we’ve experimented with lots of bread recipes now that this starter is lying around, none of which have been either amazing or terrible. Underwhelming, I know. The point is, practice makes perfect and some day we’ll make something truly fabulous and put it here and say “Look how far we’ve come!”

Until then, this is a pretty good breakfast:

 

Recipe from here but I didn’t totally follow the directions. Whoops.