Yesterday, Today

August 2, 2009

Dear Caitlin,

Good Morning

Ah… this is how summer should be. Relaxing on the front porch after a nice morning run, letting the cool breeze blow past while enjoying some fresh grapes, warm tea, and a good book. Can we get a front porch someday? I think I’d like that…

After spending the first part of my Saturday morning in this fashion, I went on to go to one of my other favorite things: the farmers’ market! Due to the recent flooding in the area, many of the local farms were struggling to put food on their market tables, but my mom and I were still able to find plenty of good buys:

Farmers' Market Goodies

Roughly from left to right, that’s onion focaccia bread, yellow tomatoes, strawberries, five ears of corn, several zucchinis, a handful of beets, chard, and pattypan squash.

Soon after this little outing, I was ready to whip up some lunch. I decided that I should the above chard right away so it would have no chance to wilt. I made it according to Dreena’s too-simple-to-really-need-to-be-in-a-cookbook saute recipe, as usual. I think I put in a little too much salt by accident, but this was still very good (also as usual).

Sauteed Chard

The real highlight of this lunch, however, was my salad, which was not without incident. Both the red leaf lettuce AND the jicama that I had bought at the local Hannaford supermarket just the day before had already gone bad, the jicama brown and rotten and the lettuce wet and wilty. I was super peeved by this, especially since I had just come back from the farmers’ market and foregone buying any more of the nice looking organic lettuce there. Yet I didn’t let these two little catastrophes get in my way. We still had some baby spinach left for the base and plenty more to pile on top, so I really had at it:

Super Salad

And just so you get a sense of the height of this salad, here’s the view from the side:

Super Salad Side View

So, in summary, on top of the handful of baby spinach hidden at the bottom of this dish are: sliced carrots, brocco sprouts, and an assortment of (way too many) nuts (walnuts, cashews, and pine nuts), with sliced yellow tomatoes on the side. But I wasn’t done yet! I also made a dressing to go on top, Gena’s Asian Dressing (scroll down a while).

Gena's Asian Dressing

The picture isn’t much to look at, but this dressing is great—lots of great flavors all coming at you at once! And as you can see, it makes a ton, so I’ll be enjoying this for a while. Anyway, here’s what my super salad looked like in the end:

Super Salad with Dressing

After lunch, I munched on a few Multigrain FSTG chips that my mom found at the supermarket the other day.

Multigrain FSTG Chips

I post this picture only so you can see the sheer multitude of grains in these chips: flax, sunflower, and sesame seeds, oat fiber, brown rice, quinoa, and soy. I don’t think the “multi” prefix really captures the myriad of flavors inside these chips. So good.

Dinner for the night went on the road, a somewhat spur-of-the-moment family trip to Tanglewood, the outdoor concert hall in Lenox, Massachusetts, not to mention my former employer. I was not too thrilled to be going at first, although I think mostly because going involved me waking up for my afternoon-turned-evening nap (and you know how I am coming out of naps!), but in the end I really enjoyed it. At Tanglewood, behind the large main seating area known as the “Shed” is an expansive lawn of general admission seating where people set up lawn chairs, blankets, and picnic baskets, which is what my family did as well. In our picnic basket was that onion focaccia bread and the corn featured above, some black bean tamales from a local (but not the usual local) store, and some tasty ginger snap and (gluten-free!) pecan shortbread cookies. I think after working at Tanglewood for three years, I didn’t realize how pleasant it can be to actually just go there, sitting on the cool night grass under the waxing gibbous of the moon, listening to the rich harmonies of Debussy and the cheerful melodies of Mozart reach your ears from the distant stage while sipping some fantastic red wine out of a humble plastic cup. In the end, I actually felt like I would enjoy going back.

In addition, I got to see two of my old coworkers, which was an unexpected treat for all of us. The wheelchair employees are still going strong, and although some things have changed (cribbage replacing hearts as the game of choice, new access to a private employee restroom), the spirit remains the same. It was good to see.

And that was my Saturday. Today looks like it will see another out-of-house dinner, this time at a restaurant. I don’t think I’ll be taking my camera along (I still feel weird about photographing food while I’m out, and I have no confidence in my photographing abilities given low light), but I’ll be sure to tell you all about it, and I might have some photos to post from lunch at least.

Until we eat again,


P.S. Michael Pollan has a new article in today’s New York Times Magazine. This one is about the evolution of cooking in America, and the Food Network, among other things. Plus, if you continue reading for long enough, you’ll be able to contextualize this quote: “What?! You’re telling me Bobby Flay strikes deep emotional chords?” I hope that’s enough incentive to get you to read it.

P.P.S. Did you see that Heather went to Veggie Heaven yesterday?? Small world.



  1. Love that dressing! What a cool looking salad.

  2. Thank you for linking to me because I now discovered a wonderful blog. I love the whole concept. When Mark and I started blogging together we had a similar mission because we did not live in the same area.

    Anyway, do you guys like Veggie Heaven? I am intrigued, please tell me more.

    • Yes, both of us love Veggie Heaven. Caitlin is from Belleville, which is right outside of Montclair, so she’s been a diehard fan since high school (or maybe earlier), and for a while there every time we would go visit her home together she’d take me out to Veggie Heaven for dinner. We ended up frequenting it so often that I was becoming convinced that it was the only restaurant in the area! (Or at least the only one catering to our vegetarian needs.) Fortunately, your blog has clued us in to some of the other great options available in the area (we’ve both been dying to try out Raymond’s, which you blogged about a while ago; we tried to go a month ago but it was closed for remodeling or something that week–total bummer!).

      But yea, Veggie Heaven is great, and both of us really enjoy reading your blog! And thanks again for checking ours out!

      • Oh that’s really cool! I just moved here, but Mark is from here and we love exploring the different restaurants.

  3. That’s really weird about your produce rotting… The salad still looked fantastically fun though! Your night at Tanglewood does seem like it wore on nicely!

    That’s so exciting that you got beets! I was going through Crescent Dragonwagon’s book yesterday and she has a lot of interesting recipes with beets if you are interested!?

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