Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Poetry Tuesday: Hot Dog Hot Dog

Hot Dog Hot Dog 1

Hot Dog Hot Dog 3

Hot dog hot I want a drawn dog
but I also want to eat you hot dog
Hot dog how you grill there getting
crispy and you sit there penciled in
Hot dog but dog I am brimming
(I already had a turkey reuben)
-- Hot inviting; it's hot-dogging me
-- Extra hot inclusive 'cause its free
Such hot neighborhood such good dogs
So dog kind and true and here arrayed
Hot dog hot dog two ways thank you
Thank you hot dog artist cooker man
I'll take mine home as hot dog friend

Hot Dog Hot Dog 2

(Thank you, Joseph! This is an awesome project. I love my drawing.)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Almond Joy

TJ Chocolate Salted Almonds

Angela practically insisted I buy these salty chocolate-covered almonds at Trader Joe's.

She was right.

They were amazing.

If you like salt, chocolate, and nuts, watch for Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almonds (Made with Belgian chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt and turbinado sugar). If you don't like these ingredients, I cannot help you.

Incredible, Edible Hulk


I would not have pegged myself as a "green smoothie" sort of person. I still don't really qualify as one, I guess, since I don't drink smoothies made with greens (yet). But I will eat a green smoothie if it's made green by the inclusion of green fruits.

This smoothie has become a habit. Dave first suggested it to me as an option in the neighborhood where we work, and boy am I indebted to him. Named the Hulk, it's made of avocado, honeydew, and grape. The finished drink is sweet without tasting sugary, smooth, and refreshing. I'd never considered avocado as a smoothie ingredient, but it's a favorite now. I'd seek it out as an ingredient at smoothie shops or for home smoothie ventures.

If you're looking to taste the original, most sunny weekdays I spot this juice cart (staffed by a very pleasant young man) parked near 14th Street Union Square in NYC, just south on Broadway. A medium (there is no small) is $4.

Friday, June 26, 2009

How To Live Forever: Health Magazine, July/August 2009

(This is the first installment of a new feature here at Snackreligious, in which I sporadically chronicle all of the things you "should" eat or drink regularly for better health.)

Have you ever noticed how many magazine, newspaper, radio and blog articles instruct you regarding the frequency with which you should eat or drink various ingredients or foods in order to guard against disease, injury, or other maladies? I've been thinking someone should keep track of this advice, as it would probably be a full time job (and rather nauseating) to ingest everything that writers and nutritionists so glibly tell us we should be eating "every day," "3 times a week," etc.

So, while the lists I'm going to compile and share with you will be in no way comprehensive [how could one person with a full-time (more or less) job comb through all the media outlets out there for a complete list of RDAs?], I hope they will serve to instruct and to entertain, and to point out that it would be humanly impossible to eat as healthily as journalists suggest we should all be doing. So don't sweat that handful of walnuts you're supposed to be eating every 36 hours to keep your headaches from turning into blindness.

Again, I am not posting these "tips" because I think we should all follow all of them. I am just fascinated by how many there are in the informational ether.

Today, let's see what's contained in the July/August issue of Health magazine. If you really care about yourself you will:

  • no alcohol per day (because the first drink increases breast cancer risk by 12 percent)
  • an apple before (every?) meal (to reduce calorie intake by 15%)
  • three or more servings of foods rich in vitamin C each day (to burn up to 30 percent more fat while you work out)
  • foods from "all of the color groups during the day" (to cut calories easily)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries per day (to block cancer-causing free radicals)
  • 1,300 mg calcium per day (lower your colon cancer risk by 28 percent)
  • food prepared with cooking sprays, not oils (because a high-fat diet might put you at an increased risk for the "spread" of cancer)
  • 25 grams of fiber per day (to lose body fat)
  • a multi-vitamin per day, with 100% RDA of "chromium, copper, folic acid, iodine, manganese, molybdenum, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamin, vinamins B6 and B12, and zinc" (to "kill hunger")
  • 1,500 to 2,000 I.U. vitamin D supplement per day (to guard against flu)

The list so far? Not too bad. But we've only just begun. I'll be gathering more "every day" type tips and will share them with you soon. Together, we will eat and drink all day long and live forever!

As Dr. Steve Brule would say, "For Your Health!"

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Adventures in CSA: Week Two

Week 2 produce

The following items were in week two's CSA farm share allotment, which R. kindly retrieved for me while I was out of town:
  • 1/3 lb spinach
  • 2 heads of lettuce
  • 3/4 lb mizuna (CHALLENGE VEGETABLE!)
  • 3/4 lb swiss chard and ruby chard (CHALLENGE VEGETABLE!)
  • 2 green garlic bulbs, with stalks
  • 1 bulb plus stalks of fennel (CHALLENGE VEGETABLE!)

I admit I was a little overwhelmed by all the greens. Matt C. got asparagus plus sugar snap peas and Willow got radishes in their CSAs, so there may have been some mild jealousy at play, too. But, seriously, can Dan and I eat two heads of lettuce in a week? I was looking forward to a good stir-fry but it seemed salads were my destiny...or were they?

These ingredients became:

Sauteed fennel with fried lemon

1. Sauteed Fennel with Crispy Fried Lemon, adapted from Mollie Katzen's The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without. This is a super-simple recipe (Sautee the fennel bulb, sliced thin. Fry paper-thin slices of lemon dredged lightly in flour with a little salt and pepper added while the fennel stays hot in a low oven. Serve together), but I found the rind on my lemon to be bitter, so I punched out the crispy bits from the center of each fried lemon slice and just ate them with the fennel. Next time, I would zest off most of the peel first.

I don't like licorice, but I did like fennel (which has a licorice flavor) prepared this way. I stuck the stalks into the freezer to use in making vegetable stock later.

Less blurry salad

2. Salad of Mizuna, Spinach, and Lettuce. Dan created a giant salad using these three types of greens, cucumbers, feta cheese, red onion, toasted pine nuts, and croutons he made from a leftover jalapeno cheddar bagel. I made a creamy, dreamy dressing with this recipe, substituting dill for the chives.

Mizuna is a spicy green that is not unlike Arugula, but I found the former to have a less biting flavor. The croutons were inspired, by the way. Yum.

Ruby chard

3. Ruby Chard Decorated With Itself, adapted from this recipe, which I found in the same Mollie Katzen cookbook I mentioned above. For this preparation, the red stems are diced and stir-fried with red onion in olive oil and salted. Then, a sauce of 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar is reduced (after bringing to a boil) over low heat for 10 minutes and poured over the stems/onion mixture. Finally, the green leaves of the chard are wilted in a hot, oiled pan. Everything is combined and toasted pine nuts go on top.

Delicious! It actually tasted something like roasted beets, which I love.

Lettuce Soup

4. Tangy and Herbed Lettuce Soup. While looking for a non-salad lettuce recipe, I ran across The Nourishing Gourmet's recipe for lettuce soup. I liked the idea that I could customize it to the herbs I had on hand, which in this case happened to be remaining dill from the salad dressing I'd made for Dan's big salad. I also used the green garlic bulbs in this soup. Someone had suggested they might be spring onions, which they resembled, but when I cut them open both were definitely garlic. The scent and flavor were amazing and fresh.

This soup was a lovely speckled green, like paler broccoli soup. Tastewise, the dill covered most of the lettuce flavor, if there was much flavor to the lettuce once simmered, leaving it tasting like a pleasing dill, onion and potato soup. To finish the soup and brighten the flavor, I used a very nice artisan red vinegar made by monks and given to me by Ian and Christa after the most recent time I cat-sat (cat-sitted?) for them. Lemon would also have been tasty.

The completed soup was well received by all adults in the room, served hot and garnished with a drizzle of that leftover salad dressing from item #2. I topped my bowlfull with chopped green garlic stems.

This soup is also good cold, which is how Dan and Melanie ate some of the leftovers.

Greens, Beans, Pasta

5. Swiss Chard and Mizuna with Beans, served over pasta. Here's an idea I got from someone on the Chowhound Home Cooking board: saute onion, garlic, sweet smoked paprika, and cayenne in olive oil. Add greens and cook until tender. Add 1 can white beans (with liquid) and cook, keeping it partially covered, until it reaches the desired consistency. Add liquid from the cooking pasta if you need to thin it out at all (or if you used drained beans). I sauteed sliced cremini mushrooms (bought at the Union Square Greenmarket) with the onion and garlic before I added the greens.

The finished dish was thick, tasty, and satisfying. It needed a lot of salt and was very filling. The next day, confronting the leftovers, everything seemed a little too thick and bland. I added a can of crushed tomatoes, warmed with garlic, which brightened everything up and made it new again.

Last Salad

6. Lettuce salad with goji berries, chickpeas, pepitas, and blueberries. The final leaves of lettuce and remaining creamy dill dressing made for a fine side salad.

Homemade Thai Dog
(photo by Dan)

p.s. Dan also made "Viet-Thai" (sorta) chicken hot dogs as a homemade alternative to Asia Night at Trophy Bar. They were so fab! These used no CSA ingredients, so they don't really belong in this post, but I loved them, so yes they do. They did use Trader Joe's chili-lime cashews, which are entirely too delicious for words.

I ate this thing.


  • There were no words in English on the package.
  • I have no idea what language that is or where I got this.
  • The wrapper was hard to open.
  • Inside was a sticky, opaque, pale yellow hard ball.
  • The flavor was like a slightly sour, flowery pineapple Lifesavers candy.
  • It was fine.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bake bank, make bank.

Bake Sale

I learned about Tracy Candido's Sweet Tooth of the Tiger Bake Sales at a FEAST fundraising event, then saw this Bake Sale table at a FEAST-family H I T F A C T O R I E "Band Practice" in the neighborhood a few weekends ago.

Artists are invited to apply for a baking "residency" through STotT, raising money for their work and connecting with communities of people through the bake sale events. It's "bake it to make it" in its sweetest form!

From the STotT website:

The process: an artist is assigned to a bake sale event at an arts institution, for which they will bake sweet treats. Tracy will meet the artist at the location with the bake sale table to assist in selling their goodies. Each bake sale event is roughly 1-2 hours long, and coincides with gallery openings, book launches, art parties, live music performances, film screenings, stage performances, and other arts and cultural happenings. The artist pockets the cash made from their baked goods and donates a small percentage back to the Residency in order to sustain the program. During the bake sale event, Tracy will conduct a short interview with the artist about their work, the project they're raising money for, and their love of baked goods and baking, and then post it to the Sweet Tooth blog, complete with links to their website and body of work.

The Residency assists in funding elements of the artist's practice and also serves as a bullhorn for the artist's body of work. The Residency will also serve as a continued space for dialogue about food, eating, consumption, recipes, ingredients, heritage, and community.

I'm so pro-bake sale this makes me want to start up the oven immediately. I've got some creative projects percolating, too, so I may just have to apply for a residency myself. For now, though, it's back to the snacks!

Cream Puff: $1.50

This fine cream puff was $1.50 and worth every penny.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Poetry Tuesday: Too little, Too Late.

Freshen up.

So you think you can keep
Last night in. I smell it seeping out of pores.
I hear it creeping from your innards' doors.
I sense your liver's like a weeping sore.
Tic Tacs are not quite lies, but
They cannot save your hide.

To most of your neighbors, you are rotting flesh.
They're sliding in their seats, backing away on feet,
And peeling out tout suite from all that heat --
That death spinning 'round your breath's hot meat.
Tic Tacs are little guys, but
It's nice you've tried.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Eat the Streets: Culver City, CA

Culver City sky

In Culver City, as I have mentioned, we spent a lot of time walking and eating. Here's a little photo essay for you.

Hot Dog truck

In the Helms Bakery District, we happened upon this charming hot dog truck (closed, but decorative).

Breakfast snack at Surfas

Lavender Lemon bar and Pomegranate Lime Italian soda from Surfas. We went there a number of times. There's also a great gourmet food and kitchen store in the building.

Lemon tree

Oh, how I wish for my own lemon tree. It's second only to my wish for an avocado tree.

Shopping cart full of food

One day at the Gallery, artists and staff and hangers-on (like me) ordered enough food for lunch from Bluebird Cafe that two people couldn't carry it all. They had to drag it back in an abandoned shopping cart. That's a lot of food!

Turkey Reuben

Here's my Turkey Reuben from Bluebird. It was great.

Bluebird Cafe

And what was in this big box?

Bluebird Cupcakes

Too many cupcakes for us to eat! I tried a green-topped one and was disappointed it was just vanilla with food coloring. I was hoping for a flavor.

Enormous lemonade

Wow! A lemonade nearly as big as my head! It was perfect -- tart and refreshing.

Honey's Kettle

This is where I got the lemonade -- Honey's Kettle (yikes! to the website). While there one night (I went twice), I also tried a chicken drumstick. Better than KFC or Popeyes, for sure. A lot of people agree.

Mediocre Chinese

Another day at the gallery, we ordered from Golden China Restaurant. I got crab rangoon and chicken fried rice. Crab rangoon is hard to find in NYC, so I was thrilled to get some (though I like mine a touch bigger). They were good, but the rice was mediocre. I don't know why I like the flavor of chicken fried rice so much better than vegetable fried rice, considering that I never actually like the pieces of chicken in the rice itself. Dan wasn't wowed by his entree, either, so this meal may have been the lowest point of our trip. The experience was pretty tame, though, as a low point. That bodes well!

Donut King
(flip flops from Havianas - free in a goody bag; paper bag waist skirt from Anthropologie)

This photo was taken on a daytrip to Venice Beach with Angela, my best friend spanning high school and college to today, who flew in from SF for a few days. But the donut is from Donut King in Culver City. Based on its looks and location on a grimy block of Sepulveda, the shop could have been a nothing-special place, but it turned out to have great doughnuts! I loved my chocolate (pictured here) and powdered-sugar kruller.

Samovars and Accordion

Sidebar: After browsing the collection for hours (I went two days in a row), we didn't have time to take in a movie or get tea and a cookie (complimentary) upstairs at the incredible Museum of Jurassic Technology, but check out these samovars!

Accordion; Dancing Shoes
(shoes by Frye)

I only wish someone had been there to play the accordion. It happens to be my favorite instrument favored by street musicians and subway performers.

In-N-Out Shake

Dan stopped at In-N-Out to try his first (and second) of their burgers, ordered "animal style" (with grilled onions). I was told that I could order a grilled cheese (even though it's not on the menu), but I was still stuffed from the morning's cheddar and bacon waffle (sadly, not pictured) and hash browns. So I settled for a strawberry shake. It was a little over-the-top, but not disgusting.

Hey, that might be a good way to describe LA -- except that, on this trip, I actually didn't see much of the "over-the-top" Los Angeles I've heard about. I certainly didn't dislike the city in the way I feared I might. I'll have to travel there again soon and widen my circle a little. LA, you were delicious, but I barely got a taste!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Cookie Photo Session

Cookies 1

Who: Snickerdoodle and Peanut Butter Toffee, plus Pomegranate Lime.
What: Cookies and Italian soda from Cafe Surfas.
When: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 at 3:00 pm.
Where: Los Angeles' Scion Space gallery, Culver City, CA.
Why: It wouldn't be fair to eat such beautiful cookies or drink such a sparkling beverage without taking some photographs to share with all of you. Especially when the light is this nice.

Cookies 2

Cookies 3

Cookies 4

Cookies 5

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Daily at Your Door

Dan and I are in Los Angeles. We're staying in Culver City, where the historic Helms Bakery, home of the official bakers of the 1932 Olympics, is now a gigantic furniture store.

Bakery building

The old building has numerous decorative elements on its walls. My favorite was this seal celebrating "Scientific Baking."

Scientific Baking seal

I like Culver City even though I haven't been able to compare it with other cities in this metropolitan sprawl. I have experienced that, unlike much of the rest of LA, it is possible to see a lot of this area on foot. There are sidewalks and everything! And like much of the rest of LA, or so it seems from my research, food and the promise of food can be found around every corner. Both of these factors have made Culver City perfect for this particular trip. So far, we remain car-less and well-fed. I don't mind either situation.

Your attention, please.

This causes that

At Moss's request (which he made last fall), I have finally named the brown residue that sticks to one's fingers while one is holding (and eating) an ice cream sandwich.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:


(the "oo" should be pronouced like the vowel in "foot,")


There's always time for pie.

Key lime and strawberry

On Sunday, Shannon made a key lime pie. There were also strawberries. On Sunday night, I did what I do best -- I put everything on a plate (with extra graham cracker crust) and ate it all.

Adventures in CSA: Week One!

CSA: Week 1

I've been wanting to for several years, but this is the first summer I've purchased a share in a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) venture. For 22 weeks I'll be able to pick up assorted fresh vegetables in the Judson Memorial Church gym in Washington Square.

My goals are to eat as much of what I'm given as possible (thereby wasting as little as necessary), create new dishes I've never made, and to prepare vegetables I haven't prepared before (I'm calling those "challenge vegetables").

This week's bounty: 1 lb. squash (green and yellow), 2 giant heads of lettuce, 1 lb. small cucumbers, 2 bunches of spring onions, and 2 heads of bok choy. The bok choy were the challenge vegetables in the group.

I had to skip town before I could consume everything (I only had a little over 24 hours between picking the food up and leaving for the airport), so I donated 3 cucumbers and a lot of lettuce to friends, but I was able to create a few tasty dishes we really enjoyed.

Squash and squash and spring onion.

1. Squash and Spring Onions with Toasted Pine Nuts (pictured above), adapted to use spring onions. Original recipe from The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without by Mollie Katzen.

2. Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Leftovers (not pictured) -- I'd never made bok choy, but people on Chowhound, a site I often look to when faced with challenging vegetables, seem to like to stir-fry the stuff. I used toasted sesame and peanut oil, fish sauce, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegar. First, I fried up the stems in the oils, adding sauces as I went. Then I added the leaves and balsamic. Finally, I threw in leftover chicken pad Thai from the night before. It was quite good.

3. Cucumber, walnut, and Feta salad (not pictured). Dan made this guy. He added some of the leftover green tips of the spring onions with this; I tossed the rest because I didn't think they'd stay fresh in the fridge for our friends.

Not bad for a day and a half! I'll be out of town for next week's pickup, but am looking forward to week three.

Patting a Dog is a Snack for your Soul

Whisky 2

I don't drink whiskey, but I did pet Whisky.

Tomacco, anyone?


Why brown tomatoes? Why? The package claims they've created "a jewel" of a fruit, but I'm thinking something else.

A bum batch?


I have loved Breyer's Oreo ice cream for the few months since I first tried it. Normally it has the perfect ration of creamy vanilla to cookie chunks, with several exhilarating enormous Oreo pieces mixed in. Breyer's Snicker came in second place for me, with their lackluster Reeses ice cream bringing up the rear.

This container of B. Oreo, however, was a big disappointment. Perhaps I had built it up in my head during the several weeks my local source's ice cream freezer stood broken and empty, but it tasted freezer burnt and had nary a large cookie chunk.

I'm not a quitter, though. Try, try again!

Part Three: And, finally!

Needed that.

Marshmallow Dream Bar and Iced Tea/Lemonade not fixing your wagon (the wagon that broke under the curse of a paltry potato)? What you REALLY need is to collapse on the couch with two packets of Green Tabasco Cheez-Its and a David Sedaris book.

That's better.

Part Two: The day gets nicer.


Need to perk up after a disappointing baked potato? A "Marshmallow Dream Bar" is basically Starbucks' version of a Rice Krispie Treat. If it's a hot day, try a lemonade mixed with unsweetened Tazo Passion tea (or black or green tea). I mean, my potato was pretty disappointing, so in retrospect I probably could have used two of the marshmallow treats, but you do what you can.

Related Posts

Related Posts with Thumbnails