The Relocation Diet

The Relocation Diet — it’s simple, it’s sad, it’s full of revelation.  A meal that makes me feel full at the end usually begins with a cast iron pan and lots of canola oil. I plunk it down, heat it up, and hunt for something to fry. Or I start with a brilliant idea–sweet potato croquettes! A garlic, white wine, and wilted mache pasta topping!–and find that this idea leads me back to the pan and oil.

Now I’m living on the lean, mean Passover edition of the kind of eating that must accompany a move. All my implements for heating and slicing and simmering are packed away, and there’s no room on the counter or the stove if some of them were recovered. I’m down to matzah with hummus and stuffed grape leaves, or leftover charoset and a hard boiled egg. It doesn’t sound too shabby, but I always finish unsatisfied. I’ll sometimes think of something I’d like to make with the ingredients in the fridge, and then realize some essential element is missing or would take too long to find and unwrap and rinse, and then decide where it should go in the empty cabinets. So I hold back.

This is probably the closest I’ve come to being on a Diet. (Vegetarianism doesn’t count, for a number of reasons). This diet thing sucks, as most readers probably know. It sucks and I’m sorry that people go through this.


Don’t judge a book… [updated]

Let me tell you now, so you don’t go wasting your time: the Columbia Heights Target cannot help with your Passover dining needs. They do not have matzah, nor do they bother to brief their employees about this holiday for which millions of Jews will be searching for special food.

I had a rather comical adventure earlier this week when I tried to inquire whether there was a Passover section at my local store in Northwest D.C. The first red-shirted employee I spotted in the food section did not look up when I said “Excuse me?” Continue reading

Buck the trend

Crêpes is crêpes. Generally made with white flour as the binder and best known in their sweet form. Now how about buckwheat, that nutty, bluish grain best known as the main ingredient in soba noodles? I first made buckwheat crêpes during an Iron Chef kind of competition at my dining co-op at Oberlin.

Our challenge was to use local potatoes and greens to whip up a delectable meal. One of our team members had a really tasty recipe for vegan buckwheat crêpes–made with tahini thinned with water in lieu of the eggs and milk–which we wrapped around the greens. Buckwheat made the pancakes substantial and savory and, of course, unique enough to satisfy my pink haired chef mentality and fit the spirit of the contest.

I made a lacto-ovo version of these (oh, how the pure have fallen), but you can feel free to experiment. The filling is vegan and the cheese sauce is pretty easy to make vegan–use soy milk and margarine and replace the cheese with an equal amount of nutritional yeast flakes.

But before I get to the recipe, I have to say I don’t like the way my photo of this dish came out. Thus, I am adding a nice but uncalled for photo of a slice of cucumber with goat cheese and a sprig of dill:


And another one of the first snow drops of spring, taken back in February:

Thanks. You may now proceed to the recipe.

Continue reading

VOICES tells a beautiful dinnertime story

The VOICES event thrown by Women’s Philanthropy of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington was memorable for many reasons. Partly it was the Jewish/Deaf/Woman power, which I did write about. Partly it was the wonder at so many people shelling out $218 for a dinner party, albeit for a good cause. But oh so much it was the food!

We arrived to wine and hors d’oeurves–elevated every day eats like teensily-crafted tortilla chips individually topped with dollops of south-of-the-border-inspired concoctions, mini veggie eggrolls, something with thin strips of roast beef. Then when the dining room opened to accept the seething crowd of almost 900 decked-out Jewish women into the dining room, we met with a truly delightful sight. Continue reading

Mt. Pleasant Woman Denied Down Time, Forced to Remove “Lunch Hour” From Her Vocabulary

This is what the headlines should read right about now. I haven’t had a normal weekend for quite some time. Last weekend I was at the Mid-Atlantic Multisport Triathlon Boot Camp (which my friend wrote about on her new blog) and this weekend was a major paper-writing and cooking endeavor. My Braisin’ Greens menu of saag paneer, jasmine rice, sesame-ginger stir fry, garlic broccoli, multigrain bread, and walnut-currant scones sent me to a record four food stores/markets (don’t ask!)

There’s something refreshing and restorative about coming home from the Saturday night bar run or party to stove top popcorn, red wine, and SNL. Last night, I managed to catch the last few minutes of the show before conking out for 7.5 hours and then getting up to shop and cook for the next 10. While I cook most of the day many Sundays, somehow today was more exhausting, and I blame the lack of down time in my life.

I’m determined to start training for a triathlon, and plan to do the Deaf-REACH Signs of Spring 5K next weekend. According to my calculations, that means even less down time.

I think the only way to do this is to stop taking lunch hours. Ten minutes is all you really need to eat, and those ten minutes might as well be spent in front of a computer screen. Take a bite, chew and type a sentence, repeat. The rest of the hour is then freed up for any number of things, including but not limited to swimming, biking, running, and napping.