vrai-lean-uh

Cooking, eating, making sweeping pronouncements

4 notes

Grilled Bread Salad
I started making this based on a recipe in the Bon Appetit grilling issue. It’s very good. I enjoy grilling bread quite a bit, as it turns out. I never worry if it’s under-cooked.
I make this when we’re grilling other things, by the way. When we fire up the grill, I feel a certain compulsion to throw things on it until the coals have died out. If that means we eat grilled salad, so be it.
You grill the bread, peppers, and onions, so you want to cut those up into large enough pieces that they don’t fall through the grates. If I make a small salad for the two of us, I use one pepper and one onion.
Grilled Bread Salad
1 - 2 red peppers, cut into large chunks
1 - 2 red onions, cut into quarters (leaving stem end intact)
A number of slices of bread, crusts removed (no need to be fussy about this, it’s not a big deal), can be sliced thick. You want to use a country-style bread here, not sandwich bread.
A cucumber, halved and sliced (optional)
A tomato or two, cut up (optional)
Olive oil and red wine vinegar
Bit of paprika
Salt and pepper
Toss the cut up peppers, onions, and bread slices with a fairly significant amount of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill them, turning regularly, until soft and a little bit charred. I put the bread in the slightly cooler spots on the grill and the vegetables in the hotter spots. It takes a fair amount of time for the onions and peppers to cook. Maybe 10 - 12 minutes?
Cut up the grilled vegetables, tear the bread into chunks, and mix together with the cucumbers and tomatoes. Toss with a little bit of olive oil and some red wine vinegar.
I’m always looking for good opportunities for bread and oil, so I’m pleased to be able to incorporate these into an otherwise healthy salad.

Grilled Bread Salad

I started making this based on a recipe in the Bon Appetit grilling issue. It’s very good. I enjoy grilling bread quite a bit, as it turns out. I never worry if it’s under-cooked.

I make this when we’re grilling other things, by the way. When we fire up the grill, I feel a certain compulsion to throw things on it until the coals have died out. If that means we eat grilled salad, so be it.

You grill the bread, peppers, and onions, so you want to cut those up into large enough pieces that they don’t fall through the grates. If I make a small salad for the two of us, I use one pepper and one onion.

Grilled Bread Salad

  • 1 - 2 red peppers, cut into large chunks
  • 1 - 2 red onions, cut into quarters (leaving stem end intact)
  • A number of slices of bread, crusts removed (no need to be fussy about this, it’s not a big deal), can be sliced thick. You want to use a country-style bread here, not sandwich bread.
  • A cucumber, halved and sliced (optional)
  • A tomato or two, cut up (optional)
  • Olive oil and red wine vinegar
  • Bit of paprika
  • Salt and pepper

Toss the cut up peppers, onions, and bread slices with a fairly significant amount of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill them, turning regularly, until soft and a little bit charred. I put the bread in the slightly cooler spots on the grill and the vegetables in the hotter spots. It takes a fair amount of time for the onions and peppers to cook. Maybe 10 - 12 minutes?

Cut up the grilled vegetables, tear the bread into chunks, and mix together with the cucumbers and tomatoes. Toss with a little bit of olive oil and some red wine vinegar.

I’m always looking for good opportunities for bread and oil, so I’m pleased to be able to incorporate these into an otherwise healthy salad.

Filed under the grilling edition bread

8 notes

We took most of the day off yesterday and went to Eventide for lunch. Here is the aforementioned cole slaw. Not pictured: fried chicken bun, sparkling rose, biscuits, fried battered hake, long conversation about what we were doing with ourselves before we had kids and why it wasn’t this, all the time.

We were also next to a small family with a dad with a GIANT camera who spent much of the meal art directing his food and family (including running outside to get a photo of them through the front window).

We took most of the day off yesterday and went to Eventide for lunch. Here is the aforementioned cole slaw. Not pictured: fried chicken bun, sparkling rose, biscuits, fried battered hake, long conversation about what we were doing with ourselves before we had kids and why it wasn’t this, all the time.

We were also next to a small family with a dad with a GIANT camera who spent much of the meal art directing his food and family (including running outside to get a photo of them through the front window).

Filed under portland maine eventide day drinking summer water

5 notes

I don’t quite know how to explain this to people who haven’t been fat for their whole lives, but there’s a very subtle (and very profound) sense of exclusion from “clean eating” lifestyle brands like Gwyneth’s. Fat people are not allowed to eat “beautiful” foods that make them feel healthy and strong, because taking joy in meals is for thin people. When fat people do it, it’s a vulgarity, an indecent exposure, a slow public suicide.

There’s a pretty great essay by Lindy West on Jezebel about Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook. I was expecting it to be all “Gwyneth Paltrow is ridiculous” and it was, a little bit. But there was also this incredible section toward the end about “clean eating” and fatness.* Now, I HATE the term “clean eating”** but the author goes on to describe how great it was to “actually engage with what I was eating. To try on, for just a week, what it might feel like to not be at war with my body, to not have to pretend to hate the thing that keeps me alive.”

That is the way I want us all to eat. I want us all to engage with what we’re eating. To know how to cook, and feel empowered to cook, and take pleasure in the things we make and eat. That’s what I want in my own life, and what I want for my son, and what I want for you guys as readers of my tumblr.

And despite writing this tumblr for nearly four years (I cannot believe it), I very rarely consider the extent to which that is off limits for people who are overweight.

That sucks.

* I am fairly uncomfortable with the using “fat” to describe a person or people, but I also want to use and respect the language the author has chosen describe herself.

** Not just the term, I hate the idea that there is “clean food” and “dirty food.” I don’t think it’s appropriate or helpful to spackle that veneer of morality over what we eat.

Filed under lindy west gwyneth paltrow clean eating privilege

10 notes

Apples and Tahini
A friend recently made fun of a food blog recipe post that was basically just dipping carrots in peanut butter. I laughed, what is that, that’s not a recipe, and then realized that I planned to tell you all about dipping apples in tahini.
You can dip apples in tahini and it’s really good! I mix the tahini with honey. I guess you could skip the honey if that’s the way you roll. It ain’t the way I roll.
This is particularly nice for those of us who are having a hard time adapting to a nut-free lifestyle (my apologies for the gazillion my-kid-has-food-allergies posts a few months back. It was a hard adjustment.)

Apples and Tahini

A friend recently made fun of a food blog recipe post that was basically just dipping carrots in peanut butter. I laughed, what is that, that’s not a recipe, and then realized that I planned to tell you all about dipping apples in tahini.

You can dip apples in tahini and it’s really good! I mix the tahini with honey. I guess you could skip the honey if that’s the way you roll. It ain’t the way I roll.

This is particularly nice for those of us who are having a hard time adapting to a nut-free lifestyle (my apologies for the gazillion my-kid-has-food-allergies posts a few months back. It was a hard adjustment.)

Filed under setting expectations low as a food blogger since 2010 tahini

6 notes

Salvage BBQ

It seems like Salvage BBQ has been around forever, but I realized it hasn’t when I saw that they had won “Best New Restaurant 2014" from the Portland Phoenix.*

We got done with Bear’s pediatrician appointment late in the afternoon the other day, and headed over for an early dinner. It’s a great place to go with a kid. It’s fairly kid-friendly, but isn’t specifically designed for kids and the food is good, so you as a parent don’t feel like you’ve just completely given up and are now eating dinner in a glorified Chuck-E-Cheese.

The space is gigantic, bright, and fairly open, so well-suited to letting your late-afternoon post-pediatrician toddler run amok. You can watch buses driving along Congress St. through the big windows that line the place, which also suits our current interests. And it’s casual enough that you’re not ruining anyone’s fine dining experience or feeling awkward about getting up and walking around while you wait for your food. A small crowd was there to watch the Netherlands/Argentina World Cup game, providing a helpful distraction to any toddler business.

They also have high chairs. Having Bear eat dinner sitting free range on my lap is a recipe for leaving dinner hungry with ruined pants.

We ordered the Cow & Pig: half a pound of brisket, half a pound of pulled pork, along with two sides. And then we ordered two more sides. Dave had a typical panic that we had not ordered enough food, but it was perfect. I know the brisket is supposed to be the standout dish, but I particularly liked the pulled pork, which was tender with a nice smattering of crispy bits, and delightful with the barbeque sauce.

While the meat is good,** I think Salvage shines most with the sides. As Kate pointed out, the mac and cheese is really, really excellent (“I want to swim in it, Scrooge McDuck-style,” which was sadly NOT the quote they decided to print on their menu) and I order it every time. We also picked up the aforementioned corn bread, cole slaw, and hush puppies. The hush puppies are fried cornmeal and jalapeño fritters with a sweet sauce. I made the mistake once of discouraging a group from ordering a large side of hush puppies, and everyone was nice about it, but vaguely unhappy that they didn’t get more hush puppies. They’re just the right amount of spicy. The cole slaw isn’t the glory that is the Eventide slaw (if there is any tangible personal gain to come from this blog, I would like it to be the Eventide slaw recipe. I would really, really like the recipe for that slaw), but it is nicely crunchy and well balanced and fantastic on the pulled pork sandwich. I believe the corn bread is very good, but honestly I had maybe two bites before Bear hoovered it up. He panicked at one point because even though his mouth was so full of cornbread he could barely keep it closed, he could see that there was more cornbread out of reach and made a high pitched whimper until he also had cornbread clutched in each hand.***

I do wish the side of cornbread was bigger, or that I remembered to order more.

Anyway, we had a really nice dinner, and I’m happy for this addition to the restaurant scene.

* I like Salvage, but the best new Portland restaurant of 2014 is Lolita, no question. Of course, Gilbert’s Chowder House won for Best Chowder which throws doubt on the whole enterprise.

** It’s Maine BBQ good. Which is good, and I enjoy it and am glad for it. But it’s not like, Texas BBQ good, or Georgia BBQ good.

*** Re-reading this, I’m struck by how much panic there is over getting enough food here. It’s not like we’re all on starvation diets. No one has been kept from food. There is always plenty to eat. I do not understand.

Filed under salvage bbq portland maine restaurants

9 notes

Why is this picture of kale not oriented properly? ARG. Do me a favor and turn your head 90˚ to the right while looking at this.
Kale is Not the Enemy
We have a farm share (a Community Supported Agriculture share, or “CSA”) with Laughing Stock Farm again this year. I think they’re great, we are part of their CSA in the summer and winter, I enjoy the whole thing a lot.
That said, and even though they give us lots of options among the vegetables, I’ve still ended up with a kale glut. Some of you may also be experiencing a kale glut. (Those of you in California and the south can keep your CSA experiences to yourself here; we have a short, cold spring and no, we are not eating tomatoes yet.) But I think the problem is not the kale, and it is not even me for continually picking more kale even though we already have a lot of kale at home. The problem is not having easy kale dishes.
What we need are kale dishes we can make easily and quickly for weeknight dinners.
Here are my go-tos:
Kale and Farro - We have this for dinner fairly frequently, and I adapt it to whatever relatively hearty green is available. Chard, beet greens, elderly spinach, it all works, just add the greens earlier or later in the cooking process. I also make it fairly frequently with onion instead of shallot. Sometimes I don’t have bacon,* so I use some reserved bacon fat or butter or olive oil. The beauty of this is that it takes one pot, it’s hearty and filling, it’s relatively healthy, and it’s fairly fast to make.
Kale and White Bean Soup - So this soup takes a fairly long time to make from start to finish. That said, it makes a TON, it’s really good, it uses up a shit ton of kale. If I make this on a Sunday, we eat it for a good portion of the week and LOVE it. I love this soup. Also, in this post I mention that my friend Katy made it and found it disappointing, but I think we since discovered that she made a DIFFERENT AND LESSER soup.
Braised Kale - I often make this alongside Teriyaki Salmon. Here’s the basic recipe: “Wash your kale and remove the stems. Chop. Dump into a large pan with a little bit of chicken stock and a bit of butter. Simmer, tossing with tongs, until cooked.” You can saute onion first, you could toss with a bit of sherry vinegar when they’re done, it’s really simple.
Kale Smoothies - We’ve started drinking smoothies with greens in the mornings. Spinach is easy. Kale is sort of more advanced, because raw kale has a stronger, bitterer flavor and because there’s a greater potential for terrible texture. Our first kale smoothie smelled, tasted, and felt like drinking lawn clippings. Bear was the only one who could finish it. We’ve since improved dramatically to the point where we all enjoy the kale smoothies. Some tips: 1. Don’t go crazy with the amount of kale, start with a very moderate handful, 2. blend the kale and liquids together first so you’re not getting the lawn-clipping texture, 3. use fruits that are very sweet and tart to balance things out (like pineapple or mango), 4. add a bit of lime juice at the end if it’s missing something. We’ve had good luck with kale, plain greek yogurt, orange juice (blend these three together first VERY well), banana, frozen pineapple or frozen mango. Coconut milk wouldn’t be amiss either.
I know others have had great luck with kale chips and kale salads. I haven’t had great luck with those, but I’m open to trying again.
And I’d love new ideas for kale! Send them my way!
* I generally use just a few strips of bacon at a time, rarely the whole package. So when I buy bacon, I divide the whole pack into batches of 2 - 3 strips, wrap them in foil, label and date them, and stick them in the freezer. When I’m using the bacon, I chop it up and add it to the skillet while still frozen.

Why is this picture of kale not oriented properly? ARG. Do me a favor and turn your head 90˚ to the right while looking at this.

Kale is Not the Enemy

We have a farm share (a Community Supported Agriculture share, or “CSA”) with Laughing Stock Farm again this year. I think they’re great, we are part of their CSA in the summer and winter, I enjoy the whole thing a lot.

That said, and even though they give us lots of options among the vegetables, I’ve still ended up with a kale glut. Some of you may also be experiencing a kale glut. (Those of you in California and the south can keep your CSA experiences to yourself here; we have a short, cold spring and no, we are not eating tomatoes yet.) But I think the problem is not the kale, and it is not even me for continually picking more kale even though we already have a lot of kale at home. The problem is not having easy kale dishes.

What we need are kale dishes we can make easily and quickly for weeknight dinners.

Here are my go-tos:

Kale and Farro - We have this for dinner fairly frequently, and I adapt it to whatever relatively hearty green is available. Chard, beet greens, elderly spinach, it all works, just add the greens earlier or later in the cooking process. I also make it fairly frequently with onion instead of shallot. Sometimes I don’t have bacon,* so I use some reserved bacon fat or butter or olive oil. The beauty of this is that it takes one pot, it’s hearty and filling, it’s relatively healthy, and it’s fairly fast to make.

Kale and White Bean Soup - So this soup takes a fairly long time to make from start to finish. That said, it makes a TON, it’s really good, it uses up a shit ton of kale. If I make this on a Sunday, we eat it for a good portion of the week and LOVE it. I love this soup. Also, in this post I mention that my friend Katy made it and found it disappointing, but I think we since discovered that she made a DIFFERENT AND LESSER soup.

Braised Kale - I often make this alongside Teriyaki Salmon. Here’s the basic recipe: “Wash your kale and remove the stems. Chop. Dump into a large pan with a little bit of chicken stock and a bit of butter. Simmer, tossing with tongs, until cooked.” You can saute onion first, you could toss with a bit of sherry vinegar when they’re done, it’s really simple.

Kale Smoothies - We’ve started drinking smoothies with greens in the mornings. Spinach is easy. Kale is sort of more advanced, because raw kale has a stronger, bitterer flavor and because there’s a greater potential for terrible texture. Our first kale smoothie smelled, tasted, and felt like drinking lawn clippings. Bear was the only one who could finish it. We’ve since improved dramatically to the point where we all enjoy the kale smoothies. Some tips: 1. Don’t go crazy with the amount of kale, start with a very moderate handful, 2. blend the kale and liquids together first so you’re not getting the lawn-clipping texture, 3. use fruits that are very sweet and tart to balance things out (like pineapple or mango), 4. add a bit of lime juice at the end if it’s missing something. We’ve had good luck with kale, plain greek yogurt, orange juice (blend these three together first VERY well), banana, frozen pineapple or frozen mango. Coconut milk wouldn’t be amiss either.

I know others have had great luck with kale chips and kale salads. I haven’t had great luck with those, but I’m open to trying again.

And I’d love new ideas for kale! Send them my way!

* I generally use just a few strips of bacon at a time, rarely the whole package. So when I buy bacon, I divide the whole pack into batches of 2 - 3 strips, wrap them in foil, label and date them, and stick them in the freezer. When I’m using the bacon, I chop it up and add it to the skillet while still frozen.

Filed under kale CSA