Friday, September 26, 2008


Thanks, Ipso Crafto, for including me on your blogroll! Publicity is always welcome. Perhaps I'm a little late in my gratitude, but better late than never, right?

p.s. I'm planning a visit down your way tomorrow, not to sound creepy or anything, but there it is

Plug: Crafty Bastards annual craft fair in Adams Morgan

This might be a first: A non-food or language-related blog post from the Culinary Linguist!

Here's a plug to come to the fifth annual Crafty Bastards arts and crafts fair this Sunday! I go every year, and this year am going to be volunteering (since I live in the neighborhood, I'm working the early morning set-up shift from 5-10 am).

It's always fun to browse and get ideas. I don't tend to buy much, because half the time I'm thinking "hey, I could do that" (even if I never end up doing it...). This year I might attend one of the workshops, if I'm not too sleepy!

Here are a couple of my favorite vendors from years past:
Art School Dropout (I'm a sucker for brightly colored plastic jewelry)
gregmetal (I bought my sister's Christmas present here last year)

Fall arrives, and with it an update

Fall has arrived in the District, the temperatures feel like they've plummeted 20 degrees since last week. This month has been packed with my new job on weekdays and various fun social things that come up on the weekends in-between.

Although we've both been busy, we've managed to squeeze in some good cooking and eating in-between. Some highlights: lots and lots of tasty, garlicky and lemony bean dip for snacking, coconut curry shrimp over rice noodles (a last minute Plan B when we had to scrap our plan to eat goat curry leftovers), Italian pea soup, and eggplant and cauliflower curry with couscous.

A couple weeks ago our friend J. packed up and left DC to take a job in California. Although we were sad to see him go, the upside of this development is that we inherited his houseplants (including a basil and sage plant) and his CSA share, from Star Hollow Farms. So that's one more that I can cross off of my "to-do" list (along with "take out a community garden plot," since that's not going to happen anytime soon)!

The great thing about this share is that it works like a debit account, and so you don't have to commit to getting a box every week, they just take money out of your share account every time you order a box. It's very convenient for us as well, since Star Hollow Farms has a stand at the Adams Morgan farmer's market every Saturday morning at 18th and Columbia, which takes a matter of minutes for us to walk to from home.

Here is a breakdown of what we received in our first box last week ($15 for a small box):
1 huge head of cauliflower
1 cantaloupe
at least 2 pounds (I never weighed them) of green beans, the same variety my parents grew this summer in Minnesota
1 beautiful sweet red pepper
1 head of garlic
1 red onion
a box of concord grapes

Considering that our box featured produce that we wouldn't normally buy in the store (grapes, melon) mainly because it's usually too expensive for what it's worth, we estimated that this is a pretty good value.

Here's what we made with our produce:
-the aforementioned cauliflower and eggplant curry, with some cut-up beans added at the end of cooking time so that they were still a little crisp
-steamed beans dressed with a little balsamic and olive oil and eaten at room temp in lunches
-stir-fried beans and red pepper
-the garlic went into a pasta sauce I made last night with collards and tomato and served over shells
-melon and grapes for breakfast accompaniments and as a dessert on several occasions

Star Hollow Farms also has an online farmer's market on their website worth checking out if you aren't interested in getting CSA or they aren't open for adding new members.

Soup update: Italian pea soup (made with a hambone) for this week. Will have to figure out what to make next week.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

NYC Labor day weekend: Food highlights

M and I went up to NYC for the three-day weekend, here are some food highlights:

*chicken rice, our first stop after getting off the bus

*B & H Vegetarian restaurant (dairy restaurant; the link shows a picture of one of their sandwiches, showcasing the awesome bread)

*pimento olive schmear on marble rye bagel at Absolute bagels (eaten on the grounds of nearby St. John the Divine). All of their spreads (savory and sweet) looked really fresh and were generously loaded with ingredients. My schmear came with chunks of red and yellow bell pepper in addition to the green olive slices.

*bibim gooksu (cold spicy noodles with a fried egg) at Momofuku noodle bar; toasted sesame horchata to drink and a swirl of blueberry and smoked peach soft-serve for dessert.

And, last but not least: Everything that we ate in Flushing's Chinatown. We did good this time; last year, in our exuberance at being in a place where we could get the stuff we missed from living in China, we loaded up on too many heavy things. This time we chose wisely and the results were very satisfying (I'm being a dork, but I have to proudly proclaim that I ordered everything on this list in Mandarin, which I guess may have been implied...).:

*Peking duck buns, .75 cents apiece, in buns similar to those we had in David Chang's pork buns at Momofuku, from Corner 28 (“旺角”in characters) at 40-28 Main Street,

and, from the same streetside window,

*gaicheungti - I discovered the characters for an approximation of gaicheungti, one of my favorite snacks that Gram used to make for me: 虾仁肠粉. It's basically a chewy roll made of a rice flour batter. Hers are steamed; this was fried in a thin cake on a griddle. They asked me whether I wanted 1) egg and 2) scallions added, and I said 'yes' to both. In retrospect, I don't think the egg was necessary.

*Hong Kong-style milk tea 港试奶茶

*the Best: Boiled dumplings at one of the stalls in the underground mall that I found out about from reading the Flushing thread on Chowhound (the link leads to an update as well as a link to the original thread). These were 韭菜三鲜 - Chinese chives with beef, pork, and shrimp, $3 a dozen. Seriously, I had not had boiled dumplings (水饺)this good since I was living in Shanghai six years ago.

*yang rou chuan 羊肉串 (barbecued lamb skewers) from a street cart, one apiece.

All these cost us a little over $10 total. All environmental and other potentially nail-biting concerns aside, it's pretty satisfying to procure so much tasty food so cheaply (and in my second language, no less).

Back in D.C., I have decided that this fall, when I will be starting teaching, will be soup season because soup is easy and usually quick to make, cheap, and healthy. My first contribution to this effort, made earlier tonight, was a barley and mushroom soup that was deemed "hearty" and "satisfying" by M. It was inspired by the thick soup that we had at B&H Vegetarian.


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