Friday, September 21, 2007

Quote of the Day

seen on a delivery truck this morning while biking to work:

“A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.” Elsa Schiaparelli, 1896-1973

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Whines and link love

I just got home from work, picked up the kids and was going to come home and start whining about my day. Work was hard; the wind is blowing something fierce and commuting by bike was hard; I didn't like the lunch I brought from home; summer is over; did I already say that work was hard? In any case, I was prepared to whine my way through the evening, until I got home and read my blog.

There were actual comments on my blog! Real people visited and commented on my picture for Wordless Wednesday. I am so excited that I will throw a little link love their way:

Glennia at The Silent i
Sandee from Comedy +
Nicki from They're All Our Children
and Not Afraid to Use It

Thank you, it is possible you made my day :-)

Wordless Wednesday: Water fountains

Water fountain in Southern California, August 2007

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Where do babies come from?

Miss A's current favorite book is the Merck Manual of Medical Information. She was thumbing through it this afternoon while we were doing her homework (read: parent work). She found a picture of a baby being born and asked "is that what it looks like when the baby comes out of your mouth?". What? She said the picture looked like a mouth. So I asked her where she thought babies came out of and she said "your butt". She was shocked to learn that is the not the exit either!

Chocolate, Parisian-style

We are going to Paris next year, I can hardly wait! I told my French friend Thierry about my trip today, and he asked what our plans were. I told him I had nothing much in mind, except, that every day I would eat a chocolate croissant. He thought this was a fine plan and sent me a couple suggestions:

Clotilde Dusoulier from Chocolate & Zucchini wrote about L'Etoile d'Or. Her account made me breathless with anticipation. Can you imagine a shop keeper in France inviting you to come back any time and stay as long as you want? I only hope that is true when I show up with my 5 and 7 year olds!

Thierry also sent two recommendations for shops with lovely confections and cakes and pastries. Laduree has beautiful Millefeuille and Saint Honore cakes. These are the kind that I would definitely want to squirrel away from my kids and eat alone! Lenotre seems to be in several different culinary arenas - bakeries and confectioneries, gourmet stores, prepared foods, champagne and wine, etc. The website is all in French, but they include pictures which helps a lot. Yumm, salivating already!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Cooking together

Little Miss A and I are cooking together. Several things happened today to make this possible:

1. I have two heads of cabbage from our CSA that have been in the veggie bin since last week
2. I listened to a podcast of Kitchen Wisdom from NPR and they featured a risotto recipe with cabbage

Bada-bing, bada-boom, we are in business. This risotto recipe is made in the microwave, so it is pretty fast. While we are waiting for the boys to get home, we are whipping up this dish.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Eat Local Challenge

September 2007 is Eat Local Month, according to Locavores (and many other foodie sites), and the idea is simple. For one month, try to eat what is local in your area. The challenge can take on many aspects, I guess it depends on how intense you want to get, but I liked the first two suggestions of Katherine Gray at Dish To Dirt, namely:

1. Eat local whenever possible
2. If I cannot eat local, buy from a local company

In addition, I pledge to:

3. Preserve as much as I can
4. Limit driving, and work on integrating transportation alternatives into our lives
5. Start caring where things are made and see if I can find manufactured items 1) locally, 2) in California, 3) in the Western US, and/or 4) in the US, before going overseas.
6. Try to not sound holier-than-thou when talking about eating local

One week into the challenge, this is where I stand
-- On Monday, I spent 4 hours in the stupifying heat, canning local tomatoes for winter soups and stews. Not as hard as it sounds, although I occasionally feel as though I am channeling my grandmother, or the author of Little Heathens.

- On Tuesday, the kids and I rode our bikes to school. Fortunately, we live around the corner, so the ride is not that tedious. Thank goodness the challenge is in September and not January, I find myself to be a fair weather cyclist.

- On Wednesday, I went to Whole Foods for 5 items. It took me nearly 30 minutes to shop because I was reading the labels so thoroughly. Fortunately, the chicken was local, from Petaluma. So was the goat cheese, from the coast. But the organic peas had a confusing pedigree and I had to buy soy butter from Illinois for lunches, since peanuts are not allowed at my kids' school. And I needed nonfat milk - the local stuff was twice as expensive as the house brand, but hey, at least it comes in a shwanky, retro glass bottle. That should justify the additional $4 a gallon.

- On Thursday, I took a break. All this sourcing has me exhausted and fortunately, we had enough leftovers for dinner!

- thank goodness for Friday - we get most of our veggies through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Two Small Farms, from Watsonville and Hollister. If I buy nothing else, I can feel very confident that at least today I am doing something right!

So, at the end of our first week of participation, I would say that our results are mixed. Thank goodness the kids are in school (for a good three hours), otherwise I am not sure where I would find the time to source our local food. Join me on the challenge, I would love to hear other folk's stories!