vrai-lean-uh

Cooking, eating, making sweeping pronouncements

5 notes

I had brunch at Sofra in Boston this weekend. I want to live there, subsisting on falafel and chocolate cookies and Turkish coffee. I will also have you know that they are employing what appears to be all the most attractive young men in the Boston area and they were all working Sunday morning. A friend of mine had to pause to mentally regroup after someone came to clear our dishes.

8 notes

This is the Article Everyone Will Tell You About When You Have a Child With a Nut Allergy

I mean, it might not be this exact article. But it’s this research. And I have a few thoughts:

1. It is an interesting article, and the kind of thing I would be interested in reading. In fact, I did read it.

2. I ate a lot of nuts while I was pregnant. You may have seen the picture of my pantry.

3. An article being generally interesting does not mean that it is helpful or useful in every situation. For instance, now that it’s more than a year past the time when I was pregnant with Bear and Bear appears to have a nut allergy, an article about what I might do while pregnant to prevent my child from having a nut allergy isn’t useful.

In short: the time when you are trying to wrap your head around the idea that your child might have a life threatening allergy and gear yourself up for the possibility that you might have to stick an EpiPen in your baby’s tiny little thigh is NOT the time when it is helpful for family members to suggest that if you were just a slightly better pregnant lady this wouldn’t have happened.

Filed under allergies get it together grandparents

5 notes

These are my nuts.
It turns out that Bear might be allergic to tree nuts, so we’re all on a nut hiatus until we can do some more testing. This is my pantry cabinet.
Top row (not pictured): peanut butter (which might be fine)
Middle row, left to right: Walnuts, pine nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios. (Coconut is botanically different, so I’m not counting it)
Bottom row: Almond flour, sliced almonds, more walnuts.
In the cabinet to the left (not pictured) is the spiced nut section.
I keep thinking that we will do more testing and then I can go back to basically bathing in nuts, which is apparently what I was doing before. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m being delusional.

These are my nuts.

It turns out that Bear might be allergic to tree nuts, so we’re all on a nut hiatus until we can do some more testing. This is my pantry cabinet.

  • Top row (not pictured): peanut butter (which might be fine)
  • Middle row, left to right: Walnuts, pine nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios. (Coconut is botanically different, so I’m not counting it)
  • Bottom row: Almond flour, sliced almonds, more walnuts.
  • In the cabinet to the left (not pictured) is the spiced nut section.

I keep thinking that we will do more testing and then I can go back to basically bathing in nuts, which is apparently what I was doing before. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m being delusional.

Filed under nuts allergies

8 notes

Please excuse my really unattractive phone photo.
Oh, Bon Appetit. The January Editor’s Letter was terrible. But the January issues in general tend to be my favorite, with more interesting, simple, healthy-ish recipes than usual, and this one had a bunch of appealing recipes. And honestly, I’ve come to really enjoy hate-reading certain sections, so it’s positive all around.
I think this is actually a breakfast. I mean, the recipes were part of a feature on Japanese-style breakfasts. I ate it for dinner. It was great.
This meal includes a bunch of component parts, so it’s not one of those whip-up-in-20-minutes-from-start-to-finish meals. But all of the component parts are easy, and almost all can be done in advance.
For this I made: rice (I want to say I used our rice cooker, which I enjoy enormously, but probably I just made instant rice), teriyaki sauce, braised kale, teriyaki mushrooms, poached salmon. The teriyaki sauce is fantastic. I’m sad that I’m 31 and just now discovering it.
The full recipes are over here.
For some reason I rarely make braised kale, even though I love it. I’ve been hearing people talk about being “over” kale a lot lately, and I could just be very behind the times (I am), but I am NOT over kale. I love cooked kale. It is my favorite hearty green by far. So that’s where I stand on that controversy.

Braised kale:
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. Or just leave the kale leaves a little bit wet, and put some olive oil in the pan, and cook, tossing, until done.

And here’s a recipe for teriyaki poached salmon, which is really delicious and a very un-smelly way of cooking salmon (as opposed to every single other way of cooking salmon, which doesn’t keep me from cooking salmon, but I know it does for some of you). I will tell you the secret of all salmon right now: don’t overcook it. Overcooked salmon is disgusting. When you flake it to see if it’s done, you want it to be still a bit dark pink in the middle. I’m not telling you to eat totally raw salmon, but if it’s all opaque and light pink throughout, it’s not going to be very good. So in the recipe, when you read “until opaque in the middle,” I just want you to feel like you can ignore that.

Poached Salmon (with Teriyaki)
Bring an inch and a half of water to boil in a pan. Add a lot of salt, and turn down the heat so it’s simmering. Add the salmon. Cover and simmer until done, 5 - 10 minutes. Remove salmon to a shallow bowl and pour teriyaki sauce over.

And the Teriyaki Sauce, which you should make now and just have in your fridge ready for any teriyaki opportunity that should present itself.

Teriyaki Sauce
Combine 1 cup brown sugar (packed), 1 cup mirin (I had some yuzu rice vinegar in the cabinet from approximately eight million years ago, so I used that and it was fantastic), and 1 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce in a small saucepan. Simmer for 40 - 50 minutes, until slightly thickened. Apparently this will keep for a month in your fridge.

Please excuse my really unattractive phone photo.

Oh, Bon Appetit. The January Editor’s Letter was terrible. But the January issues in general tend to be my favorite, with more interesting, simple, healthy-ish recipes than usual, and this one had a bunch of appealing recipes. And honestly, I’ve come to really enjoy hate-reading certain sections, so it’s positive all around.

I think this is actually a breakfast. I mean, the recipes were part of a feature on Japanese-style breakfasts. I ate it for dinner. It was great.

This meal includes a bunch of component parts, so it’s not one of those whip-up-in-20-minutes-from-start-to-finish meals. But all of the component parts are easy, and almost all can be done in advance.

For this I made: rice (I want to say I used our rice cooker, which I enjoy enormously, but probably I just made instant rice), teriyaki sauce, braised kale, teriyaki mushrooms, poached salmon. The teriyaki sauce is fantastic. I’m sad that I’m 31 and just now discovering it.

The full recipes are over here.

For some reason I rarely make braised kale, even though I love it. I’ve been hearing people talk about being “over” kale a lot lately, and I could just be very behind the times (I am), but I am NOT over kale. I love cooked kale. It is my favorite hearty green by far. So that’s where I stand on that controversy.

Braised kale:

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. Or just leave the kale leaves a little bit wet, and put some olive oil in the pan, and cook, tossing, until done.

And here’s a recipe for teriyaki poached salmon, which is really delicious and a very un-smelly way of cooking salmon (as opposed to every single other way of cooking salmon, which doesn’t keep me from cooking salmon, but I know it does for some of you). I will tell you the secret of all salmon right now: don’t overcook it. Overcooked salmon is disgusting. When you flake it to see if it’s done, you want it to be still a bit dark pink in the middle. I’m not telling you to eat totally raw salmon, but if it’s all opaque and light pink throughout, it’s not going to be very good. So in the recipe, when you read “until opaque in the middle,” I just want you to feel like you can ignore that.

Poached Salmon (with Teriyaki)

Bring an inch and a half of water to boil in a pan. Add a lot of salt, and turn down the heat so it’s simmering. Add the salmon. Cover and simmer until done, 5 - 10 minutes. Remove salmon to a shallow bowl and pour teriyaki sauce over.

And the Teriyaki Sauce, which you should make now and just have in your fridge ready for any teriyaki opportunity that should present itself.

Teriyaki Sauce

Combine 1 cup brown sugar (packed), 1 cup mirin (I had some yuzu rice vinegar in the cabinet from approximately eight million years ago, so I used that and it was fantastic), and 1 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce in a small saucepan. Simmer for 40 - 50 minutes, until slightly thickened. Apparently this will keep for a month in your fridge.

Filed under teriyaki bon appetit dinner

16 notes

I’m probably never going to figure out a better/more attractive wire solution for Bear’s mobile, so it’s probably time to call it completed.

So here’s the seagull mobile I made for Bear. It took a little trial and error to get the pattern right for the birds, so there are a few that don’t look particularly seagull-shaped. The beaks, eyes, legs, and feather detail on the wings are embroidered.

All told, I’m pretty proud of them.

Filed under sewing seagull mobiles

1 note

Strange and Mysterious Object #6

Dear Space Monkey Twins,

Thank you for sharing your observations. I wanted to alert you to some interesting work happening in Portland, ME around the Glow Box. Researchers there have initiated oral investigations of the un-lit Glow Box. They were also able to activate the glow, but research was halted unexpectedly.

The strong anti-science bias among “Mama” and “Daddy” is slowing progress, but the researchers are hopeful that they will be able to continue their work and present findings to the Baby Council soon.

With regards,

Interested Parties

Filed under space monkey twins babies glow box

674 notes

emilygould:

americastestkitchen:

What Polar Vortex? We’re staying inside and fighting the frigid air with our DIY Hot Chocolate—and we think you should, too: http://bit.ly/1eiCx2c

sorry, ATC, but that looks like a ball of doody dropped into a glass of milk. gross. no.

I second Emily’s comment and would like to add: “DIY hot chocolate”? Can we add DIY to every task that is part of daily life? DIY breakfast! DIY brushed teeth! DIY laundry! DIY pants wearing!
What life are you living, America’s Test Kitchen, that you needed to distinguish “DIY hot chocolate” from “hot chocolate”?

emilygould:

americastestkitchen:

What Polar Vortex? We’re staying inside and fighting the frigid air with our DIY Hot Chocolate—and we think you should, too: http://bit.ly/1eiCx2c

sorry, ATC, but that looks like a ball of doody dropped into a glass of milk. gross. no.

I second Emily’s comment and would like to add: “DIY hot chocolate”? Can we add DIY to every task that is part of daily life? DIY breakfast! DIY brushed teeth! DIY laundry! DIY pants wearing!

What life are you living, America’s Test Kitchen, that you needed to distinguish “DIY hot chocolate” from “hot chocolate”?

Filed under DIY hot chocolate

11 notes

Let’s All Stop Using the Phrase “Ethnic Restaurants”

I have a resolution for all of us for 2014: We have to stop saying “ethnic restaurants” or “ethnic food” or “ethnic frozen” (ahem, Hannaford).

I’m not against “ethnic” as a word that means of or relating to a population subgroup. That’s totally cool. And I’m not against the idea of restaurants or cuisines of or relating to a population subgroup. Again, totally cool.

The big problem is that what does and doesn’t get called “ethnic” doesn’t tend to have a lot to do with whether it’s of or relating to a population subgroup.

"Ethnic" restaurants are almost never French, or Italian, or English. They are almost always Other. When the new Portland Press Herald restaurant reviewer writes, "[American bistro cooking] pretty much defines every new restaurant, other than ethnic, that strives to be the next American bistro wunderkind,” he’s framing “ethnic” as an alternative to American.*

Start paying attention to the kinds restaurants people refer to as “ethnic.” What do they have in common?

It’s not just that the phrase is incredibly loaded and racially problematic. It’s that it doesn’t really mean anything. There’s not a lot of food out there that isn’t of or relating to a population subgroup.

So when you next feel the desire to say “ethnic,” think about what you mean. Do you mean you want southeast asian food? Or German food? Or inexpensive food? Or something significantly different from what you normally cook at home? Figure out what you actually mean, and use those words.

* Portland Press Herald editors, what in god’s name happened with that article? Were you high?

Filed under New Year Resolutions ethnic