CSA, Week 1

The time has come for spring CSA.  We had a one-week delay because of the crazy rain and the hail storm(s?), but now we're on track.  On the suggestion of many trustworthy sources and consultation with our share-splitter (coworker LA) we chose Roxbury Farms.  Back in the day we had a half share, but no such thing in the Cap Reg.  I had a feeling we'd quickly fall behind on our own, so thank goodness for LA.  The plan is that we'll pick up every other week, and she the same.  If we have an insane amount of something that we think will just go bad, we'll share even when it's "our week," because we're nice like that.

Week 1:

- Lettuce lettuce lettuce!  Salad mix and a beautiful head of red lettuce.
- Spinach
- Broccoli
- Zucchini
- Summer squash
- Garlic scapes
- Kale
- Herbs!  We grabbed basil and parsley, and we have more growing on the porch :)

I'm thinking kale chips, although at first attempt I found them tasty but too thin.  They were like paper that crumbled in my hand or just disintegrated on my tongue.  Another option is a kale and chickpea or white bean soup; I've seen a lot of similar recipes floating around, and it won't be too heavy for our current weather.

Last night I sauteed up some scapes, squash, zucchini (aren't they also squash?), and spinach and threw them into a giant pasta salad with torn basil.  It's basically my favorite non-winter food. Can't wait until tomatoes are really happening.  Add some grilled tofu or sliced up Tofurkey sausage and you have a protein, vegetable, grain, and lunch is READY.  You can even make mini turkey meatballs and throw them in (we did). Eat it cold (we do), or eat it hot (also we do that). Put it on your salad.  Make it with brown rice pasta for a gluten free version.

The bok choy may turn into a variation on my aunt's family's awesome salad, or maybe a big stir fry.

Supplementing our veggies were the spoils from our strawberry picking at Indian Ladder. For the first time in my picking history, we were asked to pay before we picked.  OK!  Whatever!

We even liked the deformed ones.


Mile End

Mile End: A Montreal-Style Jewish Delicatessen in Brooklyn. Sounds like a book title.  The inside jacket would read: mmm smoked meat nom nom nom nomz.

 [washed out hipster pic.  aka it was very sunny.]

I saw Mile End on Unique Eats not long after my trip to Montreal, and L obviously had already tried some of their food at a local festival.

This place was petite.  Expected for New York, I know, but I didn't know the tables were perpendicular to the wall and were meant to sit 4, so we squeezed 6 there and put mom and dad in the two-seater right behind us.  I had my back to them, not so nice, but they were busy chompin' up delightful smoked meat hash.  I loved the feel of the inside--wooden tables, chalkboards, the subway tile, the hockey pictures in the bathroom--all of it!

I knew before our arrival, but others were surprised--you cannot get smoked meat before noon unless you get the smoked meat hash.  No sandwiches, no pile of meat (ahem, remember Schwartz's?).  Next time, FIL!  I'm with them, I want to go back for a sandwich.  Not a problem.  When are you free?

The smoked meat hash looks good, doesn't it?  It was.  Well-done, and that's not only a compliment, I mean crispy and crunchy.  The way I like it (and my mom, and my grandma, and everyone else in my family with the burned lovin').  My only criticism is that I wish there was more meat and fewer potatoes. It wasn't totally out of whack, and granted I was starving for more protein, but it would have made a noticeable difference in my book.

I also got a bagel (imported from Montreal's St. Viateur) to see what the fuss is about.  I didn't notice a particular sweetness, but indeed it was smaller and denser than the typical NY bagel.  It was too crazy--maybe because I lived in places with weird smaller bagels for a while and ate them anyway?

The strawberry jammy preserve was good, but the chunks of strawberry were big, and it was difficult to actually cut it to spread some on my bagel.  Highbrow problems.

J's onion, greens, and salami scramble situation.  Mile End serves Boylan's sodas AND iced coffee (yay), and they have an olive oil type dispenser for simple syrup.  Love it. 

AG had a special: egg in a hole (a hole in challah, by the by) topped with greens and crispy chicken skin pieces.  I didn't get particular details on how she liked this, but the plate, like mine (and J's, etc) was clean.  It looked delicious.  If smoked meat hash wasn't an option, the special would be for me.

In all, 5 of us got smoked meat hash, and the only unpictured item is Grandma's delightful whitefish salad and bagel platter.  The whitefish salad was fresh, full of herbs and a citrus squeeze. It was light and refreshing, everything I definitely did not want that morning--GIVE ME MORE MEEEEAAAAAT.

Mile End on Urbanspoon


Fewer Words Friday

Read words here, where my bloggy-friend Tori, aka The Shiksa in the Kitchen, has written about my grandmother's sour cream twists.  They are, hands down, my favorite homemade family treat.  I don't make them that often because they are somewhat time-consuming compared to her mandel, and, unlike with mandel, J doesn't think they can substitute every meal of the day.  Which means I eat most of them myself.  Muahahahahaaa.  

Have a great weekend!  I'm meeting my cousin's brand new baby tonight, just 5 days old.  CAN'T WAIT!


Last Midwestern Postcard (For Now)

I don't usually stretch our trips into a zillion posts, but we just ate too many damn photogenic dishes to squeeze them all in.  And I have to tell you about one of the best breakfasts I have had in a very long time.

When I eat somewhere that is seemingly in the middle of nowhere (sorry, places I'm talking about) and it is amazing and I want to hitch it to my rental car and bring it wherever I go next, I'm always surprised.  Whether it's a cafe outside Zion National Park, or, in this case, a place called Cafe Berlin in Columbia, Missouri.  Columbia, home of Mizzou, is basically smack in between St. Louis and Kansas City.  Also known as: the PERFECT place to have breakfast before getting back to STL for our flight.

It doesn't look like too much from the outside--little strip mall, parking lot, interesting color choice, and...er...the font.

Inside it's all earthy and crunchy, complete with all kinds of characters (including us). It has charm (local art, and it's a venue for local entertainment), wit (after the beer list is a listing for a "suicide," aka a lil' of each, which you can order), but most importantly, the food is delicious.  DELICIOUS.

Once again, for the third time in the state of Missouri, I read the words "Breakfast All Day."  Those sweet (yet savory) words. 

I managed to claw myself away from over easy eggs on this day.  I pretty much wanted everything on this menu, but I decided on the Carey Burrito--scrambled eggs, feta, roasted potatoes, cilantro, and apples served with tzatziki.  Sweet, salty, crunchy, hot, cold, omg I can't deal. 

Look at the browning on those potatoes! 

  J also went burrito--he had the straight up Breakfast Burrito with eggs, cheddar, sausage, potatoes, and guac for an extra buck because he's wild like that. 

I'm not sure when you'll be in the middle of Missouri next.  But if you're 17 and applying to schools, this may be a good enough reason to apply to Mizzou. (The admissions office hasn't paid me.)

Cafe Berlin on Urbanspoon


Postcard from Kansas City

We live by certain rules.  One is this: if you are or will be in driving distance of a city with an MLB team, you should try to plan your trip such that the team will be playing at home during your visit. And that's how we ended up in Kansas City on a recent visit to St. Louis.  After being sure to stand in both Missouri and Illinois over on the east side of the state, we headed to Kansas City and promptly planted our feet in Kansas.

Our first stop in KC was Arthur Bryant's.

Arthur Bryant served up the best barbecue I've ever had.  The burnt ends brisket sandwich (open-faced) was more than enough for J and I to share on our particular outing.  We'd stopped at Panera off the highway (boring! But fun fact, closer to St. Louis it's called the St. Louis Bread Company) for breakfast, and we were having an early, pre-Royals game dinner, so that's why we had to share.  There is only room for so many many meals per day, unforch.

This place was hopping on a weekday lunch hour.  You wait in line, order, pay, then sit.  They've got sauces for sale, but don't worry, you can buy online if you're not checking your bag (or are afraid of sauced clothes).  We had yummy (read: worth it) fries with our deeelectable slightly sweet, slightly spicy, tangy sauced brisket. Everything I love in life: barbecue sauce, brisket (and burnt ends at that), and my main squeeze (bottle of sauce).

Look at it up there, all understated on its white bread.

Dinner was a different adventure.  I had thought about making a reservation at Bluestem, with its chef all fancy and nominated for a James Beard for Best Chef - Midwest.  But then I looked at Yelp and the menu.  We figured we'd do the $60 three course option, but then on Yelp the lounge happy hour offerings were all the rage. Sixty smackers for three courses just didn't seem like a good deal when we could pay less than that for a whole dinner for two.  And I didn't want to be too late to the game, but I wouldn't want to rush a drawn out expensive meal.

So we lounged it (again), and I'm glad we did.  First we enjoyed some honey roasted spiced nuts that J is still talking about.  It can be seen below with my wheat beer/ginger beer/limoncello situation.

Hangar steak was on the lounge menu for $14.  Cooked sous vide in an extremely generous portion and served with chimichurri sauce and amazing (once again: worth it) fries, this baby clocked in at $7  because it was half off for happy hour (which lasts until 7). OK, maybe the 3-course would have had an amouse bouche, and a little plate of treats at the end, and a sauteed this or pureed that alongside the steak instead of frites, but $7?!?!?  I'll write it out.  SEVEN DOLLARS?!?!?  Incredible food for that price.  At $14 it would have been a steal.  Look at the portion.

Then there was the pulled pork barbecue sandwich. The same ridonculous fries on the side, a ginger slaw that was refreshing and bright (I'd add more ginger...obviously).  The only disappointment on the plate was the pickle. It just wasn't my type.

I can, without reservations (literally), absolutely recommend the Bluestem lounge.  You don't need to spend a lot of money to have delicious, carefully prepared food in generous portions.  The service was really friendly, everyone around us seemed to be having a great time, and there's a hilarious truck/wagon that looks like a sandwich parked at the joint across the street. 

I highly recommend KC if you are nearby.  The lovely, shiny,spacious Nelson-Atkins museum is somehow free, and the nearby gardens are lovely.

Game time, and we out.