This isn’t the usual compilation of meals from the past few days, but rather a pile of photos of the things I can’t seem to get enough of right now. Asparagus? Please. Radishes? Yes. Negronis? Why not. Avocado on toast? For life. We made Nigel Slater’s scones this weekend, but sadly didn’t make it to the farmer’s market on Sunday in time to get fresh strawberries. We settled for albion strawberry INNA Jam, and really suffered our way through it.
I’m back from a busy four days in New Mexico, where I was working with students from NMHU who are hard at work on a project with the Santa Fe Children’s Museum. Later this week I’ll share more about my experience in New Mexico, but for now, I’m catching up on a few of the things I missed while away: good coffee, lots of vegetables, and you know… and cat snuggles. After all that travel in four different airports, very cold weather, and lots of meetings with students, I’m pumping up on vitamin C, and catching up on rest. I’m going to need a lot of energy this week to stay on top of all the work I’ve got planned, including some filming for the next round of Skill Exchange videos!
I came home to a fridge full of CSA vegetables that Intern had carefully been avoiding while I was away. Turns out the guy doesn’t like to do much in the kitchen when his only company is cats. After juicing a mixed bag of oranges, mandarins and one pomelo, we made green smoothies with a bright citrus flavor. I was dubious about Intern’s interest in this particular smoothie, but he drank it all, and even declared it the best one yet. If you’re not scared of lots of greens for breakfast, I recommend this recipe.
Very Green Winter Smoothie
makes two smoothies
1 handful of spinach
several leaves of totsoi (tastes like a bok choy cousin)
1 small handful of arugula
1 cup of fresh orange juice (or a crazy blend of citrus like we made)
1/3 cup pineapple chunks
1 tbsp ground flax seed and oatmeal (optional)
Layer your ingredients in a blender, and pour juice over the top. Blend, and add sparkling water until desired consistency is reached. Will keep in the fridge overnight without separating, if you add the ground oatmeal.
The week has flown by again, and yet I don’t feel quite caught up. It was a productive week however. There was a lot of client work, and I wrapped up the final touches on a new web design project that is being coded by a little css-code-fairy, as we speak. The project will be live by next week, just in time for me to pack my bags, and fly to New Mexico for a whirlwind tour-lecture-Skill Exchange-work trip. I’ll be visiting Santa Fe and Las Vegas, checking out Parachute Factory, and hopefully working through a long list of recommendations from the lovely lady behind Stitch and Hammer.
Early next week I’ll be sharing our very first Skill Exchange video, a video project that has been months in the making. With help from many friends and contributors, I am excited to finally share it. If one more day of teasing this video release is just too much for you, just sign up for the Skill Exchange newsletter. Newsletter subscribers are going to get a sneak peek of the video a day earlier than the rest, in addition to other perks like early ticket releases, and adorably brief messages from Skill Exchange. I kid, but mostly, I promise not to send more than a handful of newsletters, every few months.
And, last but not least, I’ve got something to admit. Over the weekend I got a lesson in fish– which is a good thing, considering how much I have been enjoying our seafood CSA with Sirenseasa. We received a beautiful catch of herring, a fish I have never cooked, prepared, or even eaten. The fish were whole, and it meant in order to taste these little beauties, I had to learn how to scale a fish, clean a fish, and fillet a fish. I was eager. I was excited and nervous too. Intern left the house (partly to do laundry, and maybe also partly to escape this scary new fish-skill). I watched some videos online, I got my apron on, and got to it. Scaling fish? Not bad. Gutting, and cleaning my first fish ever? Not bad either. Filleting was hard, and something I am certain more practice would improve.
Here is the part that is hard to admit: I didn’t like the herring. We grilled it very simply… and I just didn’t like it. I love fish! I want to love herring! but not yet, I’m clearly not ready. I’m told it is a hard fish to love, if you’re not familiar with the oily, fishy flavor, and I want to try again… but I feel a little defeated. I’m glad I learned the skills to deal with a whole fish… but I wanted the reward of a delicious fish dinner too. So here you go, failures happen in our kitchen all the time, I am admitting it just this once. [Edit: and also this other one time]
I want to end the blog week with a handful of photos from our weekend trip to Dixon to visit Eatwell Farm. Eatwell Farm is a 105 acre organic farm and CSA about 60 miles outside the city. Eatwell invites members and guests out to the farm a few times a year to learn about the farm and its practices, explore the farm and meet other members. We went out to the farm this weekend for their annual garlic braiding party. Armed with water bottles, sunscreen, a picnic, sun hats and sort-of appropriate farm shoes, we spent the day on the farm harvesting garlic, cutting lavender, hunting for potatoes, squash blossoms and tasting strawberries in the field.
We roamed the farm tasting fruit and smelling the scent of hot basil in the sun. I think there are few things better than eating strawberries directly from the field. With dirt under our fingernails, dirt-tans and fingers stained with strawberry juice, we ended the day with big braids of garlic and a potluck dinner and BBQ in the grass before heading home just before the sunset. Our day on the farm was relaxing and a bit dreamy, although clearly life on the farm is very difficult, and all consuming work. It was impressive to see the farm, and just a glimpse of how it is run. Every element from the chickens, to the watering system, the orchard, to the teenage boys driving an old station wagon back and forth from the fields was an education about modern farming, and the community supporting it.