15 June 2016

Midweek Motley

What we're doing

I will be so glad, y'all, to have Matt home for bedtime tomorrow night. The kids haven't really seen him since bedtime Monday night, because they've been sleepyheads in the mornings and he's been out late into the night these last two nights. Between Kit, who has a cold and by the end of the day just wants to cling to me, and Little Bear, who maybe is jealous that the only present parent is giving his sister all the attention? I don't know exactly what's up with him, but he's been a handful and a half at bedtime. I'm glad that Matt is on the parish council (tonight's out-late-reason), but I'm also really glad that I won't be soloing bedtime tomorrow.

Kit really only sounds sick when she's upset, usually because she's been thwarted in whatever she was trying to do: escape onto the deck, chase after Little Bear's train engine, grab the fish sauce out of the fridge... I don't know why she goes after the fish sauce specifically, it's not the closest bottle when the door opens, but if she manages to grab anything it's always the fish sauce. But anyway, she's usually not upset, and is generally very happy. She's been extra smiley today, because she just learned last night both A) how to pull herself up to stand with her hands on the kitchen step stool, and B) that when she's standing there, she can walk all around the kitchen pushing the step stool, around and around in circles. She's so excited and proud of herself!

Our first week of CSA vegetables has gone really well. I was a little intimidated by this batch when we brought them home—I'd never cooked with most of them; I'd never even heard of sorrel or mizuna! So there was definitely a bit of "what have I done?!?" going on, contemplating a whole summer of building menus around new and weird vegetables. But you know what? It's been wonderful.

What we're eating

The sorrel was the first thing we cooked up. And that right there is a change—I'm pretty sure that the only green leafy thing I have ever willingly cooked instead of leaving raw is spinach, and that pretty much exclusively in eggs. But the "farm notes" for last week said that sorrel has a lemony flavor and is good wilted with fish, so I pulled a little pack of halibut cheeks out of the freezer and opened up my copy of Cooking Alaskan—which has a startling number of recipes for sorrel, actually—and wilted it. It gets much, much smaller when you wilt it! I was expecting shrinkage similar to that of spinach, but it definitely shrank more than spinach does. It tasted very good, though! Lemony indeed. Some of the chives also accompanied the halibut, but were more garnish-y than vegetable-y.

Next came the bok choy. About 2/3 of it went into the wok with sesame oil, pork, and a coconut aminos-based teriyaki sauce. I loved the flavor, and how you get two such different textures from it: the dark green leaf becomes smooth and silky, and the white stem remains firm. Both parts were surprisingly sweet, and went really well with the teriyaki.

It certainly wouldn't have hurt to use the whole head of bok choy, but I did appreciate having some still around this morning so I could throw it in our fried rice for lunch. It's so fun to hear Little Bear exclaim, "I just love bok choy!"

Sunday evening was a throw-everything-in-a-skillet night, and it turned out really well! Olive oil, garlic, and sweet Italian sausage cooked through, then I added some cooked brown rice and a can of petite diced tomatoes, and when that was warm I stirred in about half of our bunch of spinach and let it cook just until the spinach was a very dark green.

This prove so popular that I basically remade it for supper yesterday, since I had two links of Italian sausage that needed to be used; to change it up a little, I used a larger can of crushed tomatoes instead of the petite diced, and served it with pasta instead of rice.

I've had radishes before, but only raw, as part of a veggie tray; it had never occurred to me that you could cook them. The farm notes included a recipe for brown butter radishes, though. Butter obviously wasn't an option for Kit or me, but I decided to try sautéing them in olive oil. They sweetened up quite a bit, losing much of their "bite;" Kit wasn't much of a fan, but the rest of us enjoyed them.

And there's some of the arugula-chickweed salad, which we've been enjoying alongside most of our suppers over the past week. I was surprised by how much we all like it! Matt was just saying the other evening that grocery store leaf lettuce is going to taste awfully bland, when we go back to that in the fall.

The mizuna keeps being intended for meals, and then not quite making it in... My latest plan was to put it in homemade chicken noodle soup tonight, but it was way too hot for soup. If I can make myself turn the oven on tomorrow morning, it'll go into an egg bake to have around for breakfasts. Otherwise, I'll have a frizzy salad for lunch to use up the last assorted bits of greens; we pick up the new week's vegetables tomorrow after Matt finishes work!

What we're reading

Little Bear found a Margaret Wise Brown Golden Book treasury at the used book store the other week, and has been asking for stories from it each night before bed. I believe that it's called Friendly Tales. I'm so glad that they've collected so many of the classic Golden Books into treasury volumes to reprint! We also have Farm Tales, and my mom has one with a bunch of stories illustrated by Eloise Wilkin, who is one of my favorites for little kid books. Anyone know if there are any others?

I'm still sort of pretending to work on The Lost Arts of Modern Civilization, and I'll keep pretending, but at this point it's more for the principle of "I started it so I'm going to finish it." Maybe one of the remaining essays will strike a chord with me, but so far I've just been irked by it.

Instead, I've been reading cookbooks. A friend brought over two allergy-friendly cookbooks earlier this week, The Allergy Self-Help Cookbook and What's To Eat?, and I'm looking forward to using the birthday cake recipe she recommended from the latter for Kit's birthday. If I can make myself turn the oven on. We're supposed to get into the 80s for her birthday! Maybe we'll all just eat (dairy-free) ice cream instead. :-)

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