Posts filed under ‘food’

Raw Shame

oreoThis is kind of embarrassing. I go all the way into Manhattan to score some raw milk (which is illegal but shouldn’t be, because it’s delicious and wholesome), and then I come home and soil it with an Oreo cookie. Oreos are made from highly processed ingredients, they’re “chocolate” cookies, but the very last ingredient listed on their packaging is chocolate, and they’re made by Nabisco, which is owned by R.J. Reynolds and is one of those big nasty food/tobacco/evil companies.

It was really tasty. I really shouldn’t buy Oreos. From now on I’m just going to make my own cookies, or even better I’ll make Boyfriend make them for me.


June 11, 2009 at 4:09 pm 2 comments

The Great Seedling Massacre of 2009

seedlingsI just wanted to give you an update on those lovely seedlings that I cultivated about a month ago: they died.  After a couple weeks of happy growing on my windowsill, I decided to mess with them (separating the biggest ones out into different pots), and a lot of them perished in the process. The plastic containers that I started them in didn’t have holes, either, which meant that they didn’t drain properly – also a big no-no. The ones that did survive (mostly peppers and a few herbs), I moved out into the back yard into a rinky-dink greenhouse (or cold frame, as it were) that I fashioned out of six old windows and some rope. They did ok out there, because they got a lot of light, but I still probably ended up wasting about $30 worth of seeds. Boo.

The whole experience was educational, though. And I like my little greenhouse – I think I’ll rebuild him when fall rolls around and see if I can grow some kale and other hearty greens out there next winter (in the same vein as my mini greenhouse experiement at my old apartment). The windows I’m using now are double-paned, which I think will help raise the temperature during the day and insulate overnight, so hopefully we’ll get some food out of the deal.

Anyways, RIP to those poor little guys that I obliterated, and let’s cross our fingers for the seeds that I just put into the ground. Hopefully Mother Earth will take better care of them than I can.


April 28, 2009 at 4:58 pm Leave a comment

Seeds Sown

garden_beforeafterFinally, after what seemed like an endless cold spell that nearly ruined the first half of April, this past weekend brought a heat wave that gave me permission to plant my seeds outside. The timing really couldn’t have been better, to be honest, because with the heat wave came a tidal wave of soil. I liken this soil to a tidal wave because when the truck dumped the five yards of it onto the sidewalk in front of my house Saturday morning, it reminded me of tidal wave nightmares that I used to have when I was a child. I think the dreams were symptoms of being overwhelmed by homework and whatnot, whereas the enormous quantity of soil represented my and Boyfriend’s naivete about the actual size of a yard of soil.

pile_dirtI have never been responsible for anything so massive in my life – this was literally a ton (maybe more) of dirt. With the help of my brother and some neighbors, we hauled it, bucket-by-bucket through my railroad apartment and out into a heap in the back yard until it was clear that we weren’t going to need any more back there. The rest (about 3 yards or so) was left for the neighbors to take.

In most neighborhoods, a pile of dirt would be an unwanted eyesore, but this might as well have been a pile of gold. We have a serious soil shortage here in NYC. So the folks next door grabbed a bunch, and then throughout the day a variety of characters, including a few community garden representatives, brought trucks and buckets and picked away at the heap until it was all gone. Thanks to Craig’s List for facilitating those connections.

companion_plantingNow that I had my soil and my warm weather, I got to work planting my seeds. I found a nice companion planting chart online and planned out what plants would go where, and then started shoving the little guys into the soil. I put in about 20 kind of vegetables (corn, beans, tomatoes, radishes, peppers, greens, etc), and another dozen or so herbs as well as some flowers. Planting seeds is always quicker and less labor-intensive than every other part of gardening, and once I was done I felt like there must have been something I left out. Dirt? Check. Seeds? Check. Water? Yes, I watered everything. Check.

Now I can sit back and wait for them to spring to life. Soon I’ll be weeding like a madwoman, so I might as well get some rest while I’ve got the chance.

April 28, 2009 at 3:40 pm 1 comment

Garden Update

garden3My garden is still a ways away from the green eden that I imagine it will be in a few months, but it’s coming along. Last weekend my dad came down to visit and brought a little electric chain saw that my grandpa used to use in his own tiny back yard in Jersey back in the 80s. We used it to cut down some dead trees that were hanging precariously over the garden (one of them already fell down a few weeks ago on a particularly windy day), and then chop up the tree branches and trunks to use as fire wood and for lining out my garden beds. The beds are still empty and I need to get some more good compost to fill them with, but it’s exciting to see where my food will be growing this summer. I plan to get test the yard soil tested to make sure I don’t end up poisoning myself – I hear you can send it to Rutgers and they’ll test it for you. Which reminds me, I should call them. Later!

March 18, 2009 at 7:08 pm 1 comment

One Chicken, Two Meals

two_mealsRoasting a whole chicken is one of the easiest ways to make a delicious meal. And then when you’re done with it, you can get a whole second meal out of the carcass.

Most contemporary Americans go straight for the boneless chicken breasts when shopping for poultry, but not only are they expensive, those little cutlets are lacking in flavor and doomed to end up dry and mediochre on your plate. I recommend going for a nice big hunk of bone-in chicken, like wings and legs (great for the BBQ), and I’ma  particularly big fan of the whole chicken. This is how most chickens come at the farmers market, and pound-for-pound it’s the cheapest way to buy a bird.

Roasting chicken is easy. You simply rub it down with salt and pepper, put it in a pan and throw it in the oven at 450 degrees for about an hour to an hour and a half. Don’t cover it, don’t stuff it (make sure there isn’t a bag of organs in there, though) – just put it in the oven and watch TV or something until an hour has passed. You can tell it’s done because the skin gets a beautiful golden brown color. Take it out of the oven, spoon some juice from the bottom of the pan onto to the top to give it a nice, juicy shine and let it rest for a couple minutes before diving in and carving it up. It goes great with potatoes and winter root veggies (throw them in the oven in a different pan while the bird is cooking), or with a salad in the summer time.

Once you’ve gobbled (clucked?) up the roaster, hold on to the leftover carcass. It’s still good.You can pick the extra meat off the bones and make a nice chicken salad sandwich with it, or put the meat aside and use it in a chicken soup. The rest of the carcass gets thrown in a pot – skin, bones and all – and boiled in several cups of water until you’ve got a nice broth. Don’t stir the chicken while it’s boiling – you want to leave it alone and get a nice, clear broth out of it.

Usually I use my chicken broth in chicken soup (broth, salt, chicken, onions and veggies – very simple and delicious). But you can also use it in sauces, polenta, stir fry or anything else that calls for broth. This time I made a nice borscht with it. (more…)

March 18, 2009 at 6:58 pm Leave a comment

Seed Update


Look how big my seedlings have grown! It’s only been a week and a couple days since the little guys were just ova, and now they’re real live plants. Not all of them have grown to this size yet – the herbs and peppers are slower growers than the ones you see here (from left to right: cabbage, basil and brandywine tomatoes). Pretty soon it will be time to separate them out into larger containers to their little roots can spread out and their stems and leaves can get big and strong. Watching these teeny guys grow makes me feel like a proud mommy – I almost teared up when I saw the first little sprout push up through the soil. In a few short months I’ll be picking their fruits, chowing down and then saving their seeds for next year.

March 9, 2009 at 10:13 pm 1 comment

Not Terribly Green Meal (but yummy, nonetheless)


The other night Boyfriend and I made a tasty dinner out of a mix of some green but mostly conventional ingredients. This is kind of how all of my meals look these days, as I’ve been out of work and pinching pennies. Although there are lots of ways to save money while still eating green, I haven’t been leaving my neighborhood much (the little work I’ve been doing of late has been from my couch), and there isn’t a lot of organic and sustainable food in Bushwick (yet! – this weekend we had a great discussion about this).

Anyway, here’s the meal broken down:

The potatoes are from my local grocery store, and I picked them out because they were labeled “eastern potatoes,” which I assumed meant they were kind of local but I have no clue whether or not that’s true. I sliced them up and fried them in olive oil (pricey, but good for you) – a technique that I learned from my Step Dad, who traditionally makes these kinds of fries to go with big weekend bacon-and-eggs breakfasts.

The rolls, tomatoes and arugula came from the grocery store, and although the rolls were baked locally, the rest probably hailed from California or Mexico. (more…)

March 9, 2009 at 9:58 pm 1 comment

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