Every now and then someone asks why I blog about food. Since it’s been a while, I figured I would talk a bit about my love of gastronomy. To be fair, this is a reasonable question; I’m an urban planner turned jewelry designer. But there are two things to remember: (1) I am a foodie. Which is to say that I love good food. Whether greasy spoon or high-class affair, if it tastes good I’m in.
Perhaps (2) is even more important: this is not a jewelry blog, it’s a lifestyle blog by a jewelry designer. And a central part of making that work is my cooking routine. Weird, I know. Here’s the thing, in order to spend long days and nights creating in my studio or typing out reports of transportation policies, I need to cook on the weekends. And no more baking for a while. My schedule is constantly changing thanks to my freelance lifestyle, and I’ve found that cooking on the weekend grounds me. Making most of the week’s meals at once helps prepare me for my week.
If you’re like me, you’re always working to figure out a way to make your life easier or simplify at least one (more) thing in your life. Cooking helps me take care of at least 2 of these: organization, cost, creativity. I think about what I’ve got going on, what I’m in the mood for, and I figure out 3 or so meals. Or maybe I found an interesting recipe to try, whether from a friend or a magazine. And then I take an afternoon or so and make a monumental mess of the kitchen. Some weekends there’s a chicken roasting in the oven, beef and pumpkin soup simmering on the rear burner, and chicken and vegetables sauteing at the front. Blissful chaos.
This week, or rather this weekend, things were a bit busier than expected. I made it to the farmers market but then I spent some time getting organized for my anniversary sale and connecting with some old friends. No worries though. Since I’m a freelancer (score!) Monday became cooking day. Here’s what I made for this week:
Sausage & Chard Stew. Okay, this is something entirely made up. About a year ago I went on a version of the 4-hour diet in solidarity with a friend. No carbs. No sugar. Pretty much nothing white. So I had to think of hearty, healthy, tasty meals of just protein and veggies. Not as easy as you might think, but this one was a keeper.
- 12 oz package of sausage, sliced or crushed
- 1/2 large onion or 1 medium onion, diced
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 4-5 medium carrots
- 1 bunch of chard
- 12-14 oz tomato/marinara sauce (about half a jar)
What to do:
- In a large pan, brown the meat, then reduce the heat and add the onions and garlic. Chop the carrots while the onions are sweating. Medium chunky is fine.
- Add the carrots as soon as you’ve finished chopping. Cover the pan and let the carrots steam for about 3 mins. Chop the chard into 1/2″ ribbons while the carrots are steaming.
- Add the chard once you’ve finished chopping. Stir to combine and soften the chard.
- Pour in the tomato/marinara sauce. Let simmer for 7-10 minutes.
- Eat! Can be served as-is or over fusili or rotini pasta.
At the market, I also got some bok choy, green beans, broccoli, and other fixings for the following:
Grilled sirloin. Sometimes I create my marinade, but we’ve established that I’m a fairly busy lady. Oftentimes I grab a pre-sliced, pre-seasoned package from Trader Joe’s or somewhere. I typically grill all the meat at the same time. To make a full meal during the week, just reheat the meat and saute your accompaniment of choice (usually veggies for me). Put half in the freezer if it seems like too much, and defrost a serving size when you’re too busy even to throw together a salad. The bok choy, broccoli and beans will pair nicely with this. Add rice if you’d like.
Kale salad. My friend’s super easy salad of kale, brussel sprouts, romano cheese, and slivered almonds dressed in olive oil (1 tbs), lemon juice (from 1 medium lemon), and salt & pepper. All the ingredients are raw so it’s great for making ahead and snacking all week long. In fact, the oil and lemon juice break down the raw greens. It will seem like a lot, but you’ll gobble it up. Even though they are sturdy greens, this dish won’t freeze well. It’s yummy so eat it while it’s fresh! Add meatballs if you need more protein, or olivey bread if you need some starch.
Peach & feta salad. This, my lovelies, is one of the moments I get to rejoice in living in California. There were still peaches at the market! In November! Probably the last of them, so I decided to enjoy a simple salad. Peaches (2), feta cheese (small handful), and dill (1 tbs). Drizzle with olive oil, and salt & pepper, then enjoy. Tastes even better with a few sprigs of mint instead.
- Late Autumn Market (urbanfoodguy.com)
- Chard Recipe (arecipeforgluttony.wordpress.com)
- Autumn Vegetable Soup (champagneinmyboots.com)